More than 2,000 people flocked to Durham's Diamond View Park for the first ever Co-op-A-Fair. The event, which was produced by Triangle area credit unions, cooperatives and community partners, included music, games, food and educational activities.
The cooperative partners planned the Durham event working in collaboration with Cabot Creamery Cooperative's 2012 Community Tour. "It's been a real honor for us to work with the coops here," said Diana Meehan, Cabot's Director of Marketing - National Promotions.
Meehan added that it was Cabot's goal to enhance and promote the level of collaboration among cooperatives. "That's the most important thing. When we leave here at the end of the day, we want to build on the relationships that have developed."
In addition to the resource commitment to the overall event, credit unions combined forces to create an interactive "CU Path" that illustrated how cooperative finance benefits consumers and local communities. The CU Path included a coloring exercise designed to signify that credit union members each owned a piece of the institution; a three-dimensional game designed to illustrate how money deposited in a credit union stays in the local community, while money deposited in large banks often goes elsewhere.
"It opened people's eyes to what credit unions are all about," said Local Government FCU Innovation Strategist Michael Spink. He noted that many in attendance had not previously made the connection that credit unions were cooperative financial institutions. "I think people got a real sense for what credit unions are all about."
Credit unions participating in the event included, Duke FCU, Generations Community CU, Latino Community CU, Local Government FCU, Self-Help CU, State Employees' CU and The Support Center. "Each of these organizations did a wonderful job and made important contributions to the success of the Co-op-A-Fair," said NCCUL President/CEO John Radebaugh. "The League was pleased to partner with these credit unions and the other cooperative organizations."
After storms rolled through the night before, the event was held under perfect weather conditions, with afternoon sun and temperatures in the 70s. The weather keyed the huge turnout to downtown Durham for the event.
The cooperative partners are already discussing how to build upon the momentum in the months ahead. Many are already voicing support for making the Co-op-A-Fair an annual event.