Spreading Holiday Cheer (and Joe)
December 23rd 2011 · 1 Comment
BY MARK ZIOBRO
The Joe Cart, dubbed “Utica’s Instant Neighborhood Café,” consists of a semi-large, wooden box that has been transformed into a coffee counter, pulled by a bicyclist through the neighborhood. This event, entitled “Caroling with the Joe Cart,” was designed to spread holiday cheer from carolers, who accompanied the Cart through West Utica, pedaled by John Ossowski.
As the Cart made its way through the streets, hot cocoa was served to members of the households visited, as well as neighborhood children who ran up eagerly to see what the Cart was all about.
After making their was through the neighborhood, the group of almost 10 carolers made their way across the Arterial, where they first visited the Tramontane Café before making their way to Holy Trinity Church to sing more songs to patrons of Saturday night “Bingo” at the church. The event was well-received by both neighborhood residents as well as Holy Trinity Church.
“I was really grateful for all the community involvement for Saturday’s caroling run,” John Ossowski said. “There’s a lot of possibility to use this concept to help neighbors know one another again, become invested in their neighborhood, and become more involved in their community.”
The Joe Cart (and also several of the carolers themselves) got a Christmas makeover courtesy of several local artisans. Fran Wagner, of Razzle Dazzle! Costume Company, donated a head-to-toe Reindeer costume that Ossowski wore during the event, and Mare Clarey of Jewel of Denile provided “smittens,” — a scarf with built in mittens — antlers, and other adornments for the outfit.
These sponsors were advertised on the Joe Cart by way of ads hung off the sides of the cart. Sponsors promoted on the sides of bicycles in such campaigns such as “Ads on Bikes,” are great, innovative way to build community and promote local businesses while providing “green” solutions for local economy. (www.ads-on-bikes.com).
“I think the Joe Cart project (like the Joe Cart itself) is still in the design and testing stage,” added Ossowski. “The more people who know about this, the more involvement there will be and the better the outcomes for our neighbors, neighborhoods, and local businesses who serve them.”
Look for more from the Joe Cart after the winter snows. Ossowski stated that he plans on spending the winter season redesigning the Joe Cart and possibly adding a second, as well as seeking out sponsors and planning events for 2012.
For more information on the Joe Cart, or to learn how to get involved, e-mail John at reUtica@gmail.com or visit reUtica.com. Also, check out the Joe Cart video on Big Frog 104′s website.
By Mark Ziobro