An extended vacation last month had us visiting a number of quaint coastal towns and communities along the Pacific Coast, from San Francisco to Vancouver.

While each community had its own appeal and beauty abounded, I realized that the unique flavor of downtown Grand Junction's serpentine Main Street is truly unrivalled.

Close your eyes for a moment as we mentally stroll the sidewalks downtown. Imagine it's nearing the noon hour. In the distance at any moment, church bells will chime a short recital of familiar hymns to set the ambience.

The pace is less hectic here as cars crawl from one traffic signal to the next, their drivers watching for pedestrians while also taking in the sights. The light changes and the high-pitched "pew! pew! pew!" of the walk signal tells walkers it's OK to go.

The peaceful birdsong in the overhead trees is suddenly replaced by screeching and squawking of what sounds like monkeys fighting over the last banana in the bunch. The brief broadcast promptly chases off the pigeons who like to perch on nearby building facades.

The clinking of glasses, plates and silverware can be heard from the various outdoor dining experiences and the aromas of the varied offerings waft our way, mingling overhead before pirouetting down the street.

Strains of music spill from some of the shops in harmony with the splish and splash of nearby water sculptures that delight those who stop to watch the water's course. Friends greet one another with a hearty hello and a hug or a handshake, and delivery truck engines start and stop as curriers deliver the packages and go on to the next stop.

Peaceful, serene, art and culture, vibrant and thriving are words that come to mind. Lastly, as we come to the bike shop, I dare you ­— no — I double dare you to walk past without jingling the whimsical assortment of bike bells.

I knew you couldn't do it.

Farmers markets are in full swing and along with the Market on Main from 5:30–8:30 p.m. Thursdays on Main Street, here are details on others happening in the Grand Valley.

■ Palisade Sunday Farmers Market goes from 9:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Sundays, through Sept. 22, at Third and Main streets in downtown Palisade. Information: 464-5602.

■ Redlands Farmers Market is from 5–8 p.m. Wednesdays, through Sept. 4, at the Redlands United Methodist Church, 527 Village Way. Information: 245-1478.

■ Farm and Ranch Market happens from  7:30 a.m.–noon Wednesdays and Saturdays, through Oct. 26, at Cross Orchards Historic Site, 3073 F Road. Information:

■ Fruita Farmers Market is from 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Saturdays, through Sept. 21, at the Fruita Civic Center Park, 325 E. Aspen Ave., Fruita. Information: 858-3894.

Grand Valley Peace and Justice will host a free Resource Fair on Friday and Saturday for homeless, low-income, veterans, seniors, individuals, families and persons with disabilities.

Hours are 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m.– 3 p.m. Saturday at First Congregational Church, 1425 N. Fifth St. Parking is in the lot at the rear.

The fair provides one-on-one contact with 22 service providers.

The Colorado ID Project Team can assist in obtaining state IDs, replacement green cards and birth certificates (bring as much proof of your identity including current address).

Clifton Christian Church will provide free clothing, and the Community Food Bank will distribute mini food bags and register people for food bank services from 9 a.m –noon both days. Free and confidential HIV and HCV screenings will be available, as well as free haircuts and oral health exams.

The Lions Club will host vision screenings from 9 a.m.–noon Friday. Cooking Matters will offer healthy eating and cooking habits, and visitors can get assistance from Rocky Mountain Health Plans, MarillacHealth and Hilltop's Health Access.

Church of The Nativity's PAWS Ministry will have free cat and dog food distributions from  10 a.m.–1 p.m. and a blessing for animals at  12:30 p.m. each day. We Lost Our Home Pet Rescue can advise on temporary pet care.

Call 985-4253 or 261-7695, or email for information.

Western Colorado Contractors Association donated $1,200 to Camp Hope to fund opportunities for area youth to experience the outdoors.

Funds were raised at a golf tournament. The check presentation took place Thursday at the Grand Junction Rockies game.

Call 245-1384 for information.

RiversEdge West will host a Raft the River float trip Aug. 24 giving the public an opportunity to learn about the group's restoration efforts.

"Professional guides and hand-picked local river experts will provide an informative, fun float down the Colorado River with après dinner, drinks, live music, and prizes," a news release said.

The event includes about two hours on the water with stops on the riverbank along the way to hear from guest speakers. Visit or call 256-7400 for information or to register.

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