3. High Point

This week we’re ranking the cities based on how they activate local markets as nerve centers for social life and commerce. Despite the yeoman efforts of a grassroots network of revitalization activists and Support Local High Point, the only activity in the Triad’s third city that qualifies as a holiday market is the Uptowne High Point Holiday Stroll on Dec. 6. Sorry, High Point, you’re last again.

1. Winston-Salem and Greensboro (tie)

Winston-Salem is known as the City of Arts and Innovation, but Greensboro also has a robust arts, crafts and buy-local scene. Built on the model of the farmers markets and gallery hops that came into vogue over the past two decades, informal pop-up markets are the hallmark of the new urbanism that is flourishing in small and mid-size cities across the country. It would be a foolish exercise to try to give one or the other city the edge. And it’s not as if each city only has one street market for the holidays. As recently as 10 years ago you might expect an outbreak of turf protection if more than one group tried to organize an event. That would be ridiculous today: There are more than enough weekends and locations, and the level of interest is nearly limitless. To co-opt a Maoist slogan for the purposes of grassroots capitalism, let a million flowers bloom. As reported in our holiday gift guide (see page 20), Winston-Salem has Deck the Halls at Sawtooth, Hoots Flea Market at West End Mill Works, Cobblestone Pop-Up Market at Mary’s Gourmet Diner and Krankies Craft Fair, while Greensboro has Around We Go Indie Market at Deep Roots Market, First Friday Indie Market at Elm Street and Martin Luther King Jr. and Made for Market at the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market. Money spent and money earned here is retained within the community.

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