'Large crowd' expected at sidewalk sale
New Canaan's highly anticipated shopping and entertainment event is just around the corner.
The 2014 Village Fair & Sidewalk Sale will take place Saturday, July 19, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
More than 130 vendors will be on the streets or sidewalks with their wares, including 25 who are participating for the first time.
Tucker Murphy, executive director of the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce, which has sponsored the event for nearly 50 years, said the day has become a town tradition that attracts more than just shoppers.
"It's definitely a big day," Murphy said. "There's something for everybody."
The Pop-Up Park, which will become a food court, will feature performances by the New Canaan Town Band at noon and the School of Rock at 2 p.m. The Great Scirico will be back this year to entertain kids with magic tricks.
For the second consecutive year, Stamford Hospital will bring a mobile mammogram van to screen women at the train station.
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As in past years, Karl Chevrolet will bring an "adventure" for kids, Murphy said. Last year's attraction was a 100-foot zip line that carried riders through the air down Main Street. This year's adventure has not yet been announced.
The event is a big day for merchants, who often see a spike, if not a record, in sales, according to Murphy. Some stores are just trying "to clear out inventory," she said, while others will actually buy products especially for the sidewalk sale.
Lindsay Kremer, an assistant manager at Vineyard Vines, 67 Elm St., said the staff is looking forward to this year's event.
"We absolutely love it," she said. "We're really excited for it."
Though the event has grown into a New Canaan tradition, not all businesses benefit from it, according to Dorothy Mann, owner of a clothing store with the same name at 78 Elm St.
"It's a very good thing for the town," she said, "but it has become less of a revenue stream for me."
The reason, Mann explained, is because she's not a member of the Chamber of Commerce and chooses not to buy space on the sidewalk to display merchandise. As a result, she said, her store gets blocked by chamber members who sometimes are from out of town.
Merchants do not need to be located in town to participate, but they must be members of the chamber. Murphy said the chamber vets what the out-of-town businesses plan to sell so that they're not competing with town merchants.
One of the advantages town businesses have this year is that New Canaan and Ridgefield are the only towns in the area having a sidewalk sale July 19. Greenwich, Darien and Wesport are having their sales the weekend of July 11.
Elm Street will be closed, as well as a portion of Main Street, between Burtis and East avenues, and half of Forest Street, according to Murphy, who's running the event for the sixth time.
Parking is expected to be a problem, as it's been in previous years. Murphy said people should "just be patient" and look around all town parking lots, which will be free of charge during the event. She said the chamber is "expecting a large crowd" this year.
In recent years, the event has drawn nearly 5,000 people, she said.
Murphy urged shoppers not to bring their pets with them because of the heat. "It's always a blistering hot day," she said.
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