Sidewalk sales bring bustle to sleepy summer streets
Published 2:31 pm, Monday, July 13, 2015
After rain dampened its kickoff, the Darien Sidewalk Sales and Family Fun Days drew strong crowds, cloudless skies and warm sunny weather.
Foot traffic was busiest south of Corbin Drive where shoppers rummaged through evening and summer wear under white tents at clothing boutiques including Helen Ainson’s and Everything is Rosey and visited other retailers such as the Darien Toy Box.
The Nick Trautmann Trio performed and children played on a bouncy castle, just a few events and amusements planned for the three-day retail event that also included Amazing Andy; a circus stilt walker, face painting, and a slew of food vendors near Webster Bank.
On Friday, Hillary McGuire of Riverside was browsing the outside table at Helen Ainson’s looking for deals on summer wear.
“It’s fabulous,” McGuire said. “I’ve already found some deals.”
Just east outside Kirby & Co., owner Elaine Kirby McCleary was serving iced hot chocolate from a tray to children and passing shoppers.
Started last year by McCleary and Andrea Mastera, the home décor and decorative accessories store sells pillows, vases, and jewelry and has a café in the back of the store that serves miniature desserts and coffee, tea and hot chocolate, all taken from recipes from McCleary’s grandmother.
“It’s a place where people can stop and have some coffee and relax,” McCleary said.
On Friday, Katherine Goulds, 12, and Kyle and Sloan Latimer, sisters ages 11 and 13, stopped in the café to eat miniature treats and socialize.
Sloan Latimer said she had bought a necklace at Baublez, a downtown jewelry store, for $18, marked down from $48.
“We always come to Sidewalk Sales,” Latimer said.
Despite the initial weather setback sales throughout the business district appeared strong Friday, said Erika Jensen, the owner of Helen Ainson and a long-time organizer of the Sidewalk Sales and Family Fun Days.
Each year, organizers look to boost or maintain the entertainment or community value of the event with events such as face painting, bouncy castles and obstacle courses for kids and involving the fire department and other area institutions.
This year, the Mobile Wellness Bus, sponsored by Stamford Hospital, offered free mammogram screenings, and paramedics at Darien EMS Post 53 opened their doors for a tour and provided blood pressure screenings.
“We have so many activities going on it really has become much more than a Sidewalk Sales Day and is a community event for families,” she said.