This year's sidewalk sales most successful in eight years
The numbers have been tallied, and the good news is in. Local merchants experienced their most successful New Canaan Village Fair and Sidewalk Sale in the past eight years on July 14, according to Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tucker Murphy.
More than 150 local store owners, including roughly 45 independent merchants who belong to the New Canaan Chamber, lined Elm Street to peddle their wares for adults and children alike.
"Several merchants had all-time high sales records," Murphy said. "It was quite a good day."
Murphy, who arrived at the fair some time before 4:30 a.m. to draw out chalk spaces for the different vendors, said her greatest fear is always inclement weather.
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"One thing I sweat about every year is the weather. In 2011 it was 103 degrees, but this year the weather was nice, about mid-80s," she said.
This year, Murphy's main issue wasn't the weather but scheduling New Canaan's sales so the event didn't conflict with those of surrounding towns. In recent years, the Darien Chamber has scheduled its sidewalk sale on dates traditionally reserved for New Canaan. Because New Canaan's sale lasts only one day (two is the norm for other local towns) Murphy recognizes the importance of focusing as much attention as possible on it.
"For 45 years our sale has been on the third Saturday in July," she said.
She has made certain that next year's sale -- scheduled for the weekend of July 20 if your calendar is handy -- will not be shared with Darien or any other area towns.
In addition to its length, New Canaan's sale is different from other Fairfield County sidewalk sales in other ways. Greenwich, for example, does not shut down its main shopping street known simply as the "Avenue."
Shop owners are restricted to the sidewalk, and entertainment for the entire family is virtually non-existent.
"I have to give Karl Chevrolet credit," she said. "They set up an Olympic-themed obstacle course at the bottom of the street that kids really enjoyed."
New Canaan adds the term "Village Fair" to its sidewalk sale primarily to reflect the musical acts, street food and pedestrian-friendly atmosphere which set the sale apart from a purely commercial affair.
"We also want it to be a great experience for the family. It's not just about the shopping," she said.
For many New Canaanites, however, it is just about the shopping. When asked what was the biggest attraction at this year's event Murphy quickly identified the savings to be had on quality products.
"It's the deals," she said. "An event like this pretty much runs itself."
Ian Brash is a correspondent for the New Canaan News.