Chamber preps for sidewalk sale
Published 1:10 am, Friday, July 9, 2010
More than 100 retailers and merchants will line the sidewalks of New Canaan next Saturday as the town's Chamber of Commerce hosts its 46th annual sidewalk sale. The sale takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 17, rain or shine.
This year, the event will be even bigger than in previous years, according to Chamber Director Tucker Murphy.
"We're dong a lot of really neat, new things this year," Murphy said. "It's never been done before, but this year, we're closing a portion of Main Street, from Burtis Avenue to East Avenue and opening up a whole new space to add more things."
Some of the highlights include a portable trailer, furnished with a brick oven for pizza, a dunking booth provided by KARL Chevrolet and a full food court, which will be located at the intersection of South Avenue and Elm Street.
"There will be a lot of grab-and-go food, which is something that everybody has really looked for the last couple of years," she said. "And there's an ice cream truck coming in. It's always about the food."
But even though there will be several local restaurants and eateries offering refreshments, and entertainment in the form of music and magicians, the main attraction will be the sales, Murphy said.
"There will be all sorts of stuff. All the stores that are downtown will be coming out," she said.
Jewelry, clothing, kitchen goods and a variety of other products will be available for shoppers, according to Barbara Anson, who also works at the Chamber of Commerce. And the items will be priced to go.
Murphy said she thinks the current economy will motivate shoppers to search for deals, while also offering merchants an incentive to cut prices and move items.
"It's not just cleaning out closets though. There is a lot of stuff for sale," Murphy said.
And the demand among merchants to participate was high this year, she said.
"We sold out much earlier this year than we have in the past. On May 1, we sent out the reservations, and this year we were already sold out three weeks ago," Murphy said Wednesday.
"We've had a really hard time, with people coming to us and trying to get it. We've squeezed things and tried to get as many merchants in as possible," she said.
It's hard to gauge just how many people attend the event each year, but she estimates that about 10,000 sidewalk- and window-shoppers pop in for the event. Some of the people milling through town are locals, but others come from far away, she said.
"I start getting calls around Christmas with people asking me about the sale so they can plan their vacation around it," she said.
All that foot traffic translates to increased car traffic and parking needs in town for that day. This year there will be more parking available than at previous sales, Murphy said.
"Morse Court parking lot was closed last year for the food court. But the food court has been moved this year, so that will be open for parking," Murphy said. "So will the whole train station parking lot, and municipal lots. And there's plenty of other parking all around on side streets in addition to the five or six big parking lots."
Normal parking restrictions will not be in effect for the sale, according to Murphy.