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Independent's Day

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by Tammy Facey (subscribe)
Read. Write. Run.
Event:
Doing it for themselves
The 4th of July marks the fight for Independence Day in the United States. In Birmingham, however, this date was about something else entirely: Independent's Day.

independents day
Independent's Day fun

Independent's Day was the day of liberte, egalitie, and prosperity, for the independent businesses in Birmingham. The 4th of July was for the small businesses, not the shareholders; it was a day (and eve) of the slightly off the cuff, bespoke and specific, celebrating their hard work.

The Great Western Arcade was where the celebrations were taking place, and as I strolled past I was caught by the sight of hustle and bustle: bunting was hanging across the arcade, a four man band in candy-coloured waistcoats were tooting on trumpets, and a flurry of Birmingham's supporters milling amongst the shops. Everyone appeared to have come out; Colmore Row's business district workers, students, yummy mummies, passers-by, and the clear indie-business supporters who were air kissing the shop keepers, cocktail in hand.

independents day
Wine sampling

Those that weren't in and out of shops were soaking up the atmosphere either on the prosthetic lawn, or chilling out on the benches admiring the commotion.

It looked very much like summer had well and truly arrive. Limbs were on show, people were knocking back the drinks provided by Loki Wines, artisan food samples were being enjoyed at Anderson and Hill and most people had donned flip flips or an open-toe sandal.

The band

In conjuction with Independent's Day was SwopShop, which had taken place earlier in the day. Independent landlords, retailers, and cafes, 'swapped' lives for a few hours.The swappers were all artisan and indie individuals who put their heart and soul into making their businesses what they are...and they handed it over to someone who hadn't got a clue.

Fun and games aside, Independent's Day was about celebrating independent businesses in Birmingham and exploring what's 'new' in town.

Judging by the amount of people The Great Western Arcade managed to attratct around 7.00pm, it looked like the party was only just getting started.
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Why? To celebrate Independent's Day
When: 6pm - 10pm
Where: Great Western Arcade
Cost: Free
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