Celebrating the season - and Sunrise - at Clinton's Summer Sidewalk Fest
by Jan Gottesman- The Item August 12, 2022
CLINTON - Get your groove back with a trip to the 1970s. Discover Clinton, in collaboration with the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce, is reviving sidewalk sales, now called Summer Sidewalk Fest, on Saturday, Aug. 20, from noon to 4 p.m.
"The last time the event was held was in 2019," said Lauren Crossman Nanoff, president of Discover Clinton and the new chamber. "Taking feedback into consideration from the last time the event was run, the committee changed the name, added a food truck, live entertainment from hometown band 01510, entertainment for kids, and brews from Sterling Street brewery."
Discover Clinton's Kerrie Salwa said that COVID cancelled the last two years of sidewalk events.
"This year we thought the timing was perfect (between completion of the downtown revitalization and the downtown coordinator)," Salwa said.
Generations of Clinton area residents remember the old sidewalk sales days, but the event has changed with the times.
"It is hard when people think about it in terms of the Sidewalk Days of the past. It is not the same, but it is not the same downtown," Salwa said. "It is the first true event since the sidewalks were installed and we can celebrate the project's completion."
Working with the chamber was key this year, Nanof said.
"As a small volunteer committee, Discover Clinton needed more help, especially when it came to planning annual community events. Our partner affiliates from Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce stepped up to walk business to business handing out flyers, and secure mascot appearances from the Worcester Railers and Woo Sox, who will be giving out prizes of their own," Nanof said.
"Our goal in 2019 was to outreach to town businesses who weren’t in the street closure area to also join us on High Street for the event. We want Sidewalk Fest to be a showcase opportunity for businesses to market their services or products and interact with the community," Nanof added. "We understand it may be difficult for you to set up shop on High Street for the day. However, the opportunity is there in case you are able to attend a booth and hand out flyers or business cards encouraging the community to visit your business if located elsewhere.
"Or, if you still can’t attend but will be open for the day and want to participate, join the event to receive marketing from the Chamber leading up to the day of the event.
"We are still welcoming businesses and vendors who can register for the event online with the link being found on Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce Facebook page," Nanof said.
The 1970s theme was chosen to honor a longtime business on High Street. "Sunrise Boutique is celebrating 50 years in business," Nanof said. "Owner Cynthia Cannon is one of the originators of the sidewalk sales and deserves to be celebrated. Besides being a smart business woman, she is a tremendous supporter of our community. The theme will be the '70s, an ode to the decade when Cyndi opened the doors of her storefront. Wear your tie dye."
Cannon is excited for the event.
"Sidewalk Sale Days have always drawn people from many communities to this fun event," Cannon said. "I have been active in them since the mid-'70s,when it was a large event run by the Clinton Chamber of Commerce. After that it was a more scaled down event run by the merchants themselves and eventually Discover Clinton organization.
"We have come full circle this year with the newly created Chamber back in action," Cannon added. "Customers can look forward to amazing bargains, food specials, live music and fun activities."
Cannon will have her 50th anniversary celebration that day.
"Everything outside that day will be 50% off and we will have many different types of products to entice people of all ages. There will be racks of clothing, shoes, accessories, jewelry, jeans, etc., all at bargain prices," she said, then laughed. "That day, I tend to be very impulsive, putting items out for a quick sale to capture my customers attention and make it too hard to resist."
Don't worry if it is warm.
"I plan to have free water and seltzer in coolers, and very likely a food surprise, also," Cannon said. There will also be donation jars for many local charities, which follows with Cannon's support of the community. They will include: The Item Appeal, WHEAT Community Services, Bigelow Free Public Library in Clinton, the Clinton Historical Society, the Sterling animal rescue "and a surprise one."
"Sunrise loves to help support local charities and a whole table will be devoted to that endeavor," Cannon added.
"At this point this busy store owner has a lot up her sleeve and will be working on some fun surprises right up to that festive day," Cannon said. "Come on down and support this wonderful day. Bring the children, the street will be closed down full of activity. Our community is amazing and its a great day to bring it all home."
Celebrating as a community
"It is the first true event since the sidewalks were installed and we can celebrate the project's completion," Salwa added. "Home-based businesses will be part, as well as businesses on High Street will participate."
The band will play some '70s music," Salwa said. "We hope people come and enjoy. It is four hours. We hope there is stuff for all ages.
"We have a healthy downtown and we are happy to promote it," Salwa added.
Businesses not on High Street can purchase a 12-by-12-foot space, $25 for Chamber members, $40 for non members; opportunities for sponsorships and advertising events at a non-High Street location. Sign up online at business.worcesterchamber.org/events/details/clinton-area-chamber-sidewalk-festival-13968.
There should be no overnight parking on High Street from Union to Church streets. Street closure will begin at 10 a.m. so those cars on the street will be trapped.