There's more to the Darien Sidewalk Sales than finding a deal from a local retailer.

"It's not just coming and buying stuff, it's really a way to bring the whole family together and everyone to have fun," said Susan Cantor, director of the Darien Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber's Sidewalk Sales and Family Fun Days kicked off on July 10 and will run through July 12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

More than 80 retailers and businesses are participating in the three-day event.

"That just shows the strength of the community, whether it's the sponsors, local retailers or outside retailers coming in," Cantor said.

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"It brings our retail and restaurant community together with the rest of the community and invites others from other town to experience Darien," Cantor said.

The sales take place along the Post Road and at the Goodwives and Noroton Heights shopping centers. On July 12, Day Street will be closed to cars to allow people to walk along the streets.

"Obviously we're going all out this year," said Raya Ward, office manager of Nielsen's Florist & Garden Shop, 1405 Post Road.

Nielsen's will offer 50 percent off jewelry, "everything that grows" and some home decor items, Ward said. Last year was the first year Nielsen's had a deal on the jewelry and it was only available for one day.

"It was so popular that we thought we would extend it," Ward said.

Erica Jensen, owner of Helen Ainson, 1078 Post Road, has plans to sell nearly all her spring and summer merchandise to make room for the fall collections.

"I'm in the fashion business and fashion means change," said Jensen, who has helped coordinate the sidewalk sales for more than 15 years. "We'll sell almost 100 percent of spring and summer merchandise in the next three days. The prices are so crazy that we have like one-tenth of our merchandise left (at the end of the sales)."

She will have jewelry available for as low as $10, along with other major sales, and expects 300 to 400 people to come by her store on any given day during the sales.

"All my staff is ready with their comfortable shoes," Jensen said.

Darien Toy Box owner Bill Jensen, who refers to himself as the "chief toy man," is hoping for good weather during the sales weekend.

"I expect to see quite a bit of activity around town, which is cool for the stores -- not just mine -- but also for my neighboring retailers," Jenson said.

Jenson will offer a face painter for the children outside his store.

"It will be a fun activity," Jensen said. "(The Sidewalk Sales) are not just for grown-ups to come by and shop."

Prizes will be offered as part of the sales and shoppers can enter to win at Seasons Too, 836 Post Road. The prizes include items from local businesses; brunch for four at Ten Twenty Post, 1020 Post Road; breakfast for two at Estia's, 1020 Post Road; two townwide gift certificates from the Chamber of Commerce; and four ticket vouchers in the Attack Zone at a Bridgeport Sound Tigers game.

On Friday, teenage volunteers from the Darien Depot will be at First County Bank -- the Sidewalk Sales title sponsor -- offering free face painting from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

At the Dock Shop on Friday, free Deadly Grind Coffee and balloons will be handed out. Throughout the day the Bridgeport Bluefish mascot will walk around the downtown area.

On Saturday, there will be inflatable toys and rides for children in front of Meatball & Co., 23 Tokeneke Road, on Day Street and behind First County Bank. There will be more free face painting throughout town.

The Darien Fire Department will bring out one of the fire trucks for children to explore.

A band will play at Gofer Park from noon to 3 p.m.

Cantor -- who was recently appointed director of the chamber -- said many of the businesses participating are local community members.

"As a 22-year resident of Darien, its really nice knowing the people who own the stores and you get to know them and there's that personal exchange that you can't get buying anything on the Internet," Cantor said.; 203-330-6583; @Meg_DarienNews