MERIDEN — Community volunteers in conjunction with Gallery 53 put together the city’s first ever Downtown Meriden Fall Market Place on Saturday. All proceeds from the event were donated to Gallery 53.
About 20 different vendors and food trucks lined the side of Colony Street in Meriden to boost traffic in downtown and get people to “see what’s happening” according to Gallery 53 President Chris Webster.
“Our annual show is up and we have a little something for the kids out here,” she said, gesturing toward several monsters crafted out of tongue depressors, googly eyes and pom poms. “The first time you do anything you don’t know if it’s going to be successful or not, so just getting people downtown is huge.”
Those walking Colony Street during the market saw different arts and crafts vendors, jewelers, baked goods and chocolate and even trick-or-treaters.
“I gave out candy to the vendors to give to trick-or-treaters,” said Carrie Teele, volunteer event coordinator. “And I have a free $25 Visa gift card drawing and the winner will be called and announced right in time for the Meriden Yule Fest event.”
David Grodzicki said the event was “a great way of promoting downtown.”
“It’s really important not just to get people downtown but to get rid of the stigma that downtown’s not safe,” he said. Carrie “planned this in the spring and figured why not do this again?”
The Fall Market Place was also an opportunity for new businesses to introduce themselves. Devon Jewiss and DeAndre Brown from Shonte’s Scented Essentials set up shop on Colony Street to help promote their new venture into candle making.
“We really want to do our part, become involved and have a community presence,” said Brown. “I’ve never even been to something like this in Meriden.”
Jewiss was impressed at the outcome and the reception the market had been given.
“Seeing the wide range of people from all backgrounds...I feel well received out here. It’s all about small business. You’re able to help out other people and not just yourself,” he said.
Lisa McDonald of Harwinton echoed Jewiss’ sentiment, saying that there was “a good feeling” at the Colony Street event.
“It’s a beautiful, very warm, sunny fall day. What better way to spend your time?” said Grodzicki.