Something strange happened in downtown Prince George this Labour Day long weekend.
It started on Saturday and continued on Sunday.
It was witnessed by hundreds of people of all ages and demographics: seniors and babies, families and singles, new Canadians and First Nations, hipsters and squares, teenagers and everybody else. However many of the witnesses may not have noticed it or realized what it was, because it is something quite rare in downtown Prince George.
In fact, for some younger residents, they may have never experienced it in their lifetime -at least not in downtown Prince George.
What it was is buzz, that intangible feeling of being surrounded by activity and being part of things.
Buzz can have a euphoric effective. Know side effects of buzz exposure include: feelings of excitement and well being; increased energy; a more positive outlook toward people and events; increased levels of extroverted behaviour; an enhanced sense of community spirit and belonging; and an increased willingness to try new things.
While it is generally safe to operate heavy machinery while under the influence of buzz, one should avoid making life-altering financial, career, marital or tattoo-related decisions.
Prince George typically has such low ambient buzz levels that some residents suffer from a condition called Chronic Buzz Deprivation Syndrome (CBDS).
Although CBDS has not yet been recognized by the mainstream medical community, purported symptoms include: general apathy, lack of optimism, poor community spirit, depression, listlessness, disinterest in trying new things and introverted behaviour.
There is no known medical treatment for CBDS, but some Prince George residents knowingly or unknowingly self medicate by travelling to cities with high ambient buzz levels like Vancouver, Las Vegas, Calgary, Cancun, New York and London -even smaller centres like Banff and Whistler are capable of generating strong buzz levels.
By getting a concentrated dose of buzz, they are able to temporarily negate some of the harmful impacts of CBDS.
But a better, more affordable, solution is to promote higher buzz levels in Prince George.
The combination of the City Hall Market Fair, Prince George Farmer's Market, the slow and systemic improvements downtown over the years, and a perfect sunny day in Prince George was enough to create detectable buzz levels. Although each individual event or factor generated a small, barely-detectable amount of buzz, the combined buzz had an exponential impact on the people downtown.
It was clear on the smiling faces of the people in attendance, the social mood of the crowd and the general positive vibe. The mood carried over onto Sunday with the 40th Labour Day Classic race - another positive, community building, buzz-generating event.
With more events and positive developments, particularly concentrated in the downtown core, it is possible Prince George could reverse the established trend of low buzz levels which contribute to CBDS.
Together, we can eliminate CBDS. Please help, support a community event today.
-- Associate news editor Arthur Williams