MERIDEN — The Midstate Chamber of Commerce is hosting a business showcase and walk-a-thon at the Meriden Green from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday.
The event is scheduled at the same time as the Meriden Farmers Market and is sponsored by Hartford HealthCare.
Saturday marks the second year the chamber hosts the showcase. Organizer Rosanne Ford, president of the Midstate Chamber of Commerce, explained that Midstate started hosting the event at the market after the annual “Big Tent” business showcase at the Daffodil Festival was canceled due to the pandemic. Many of the same businesses and nonprofits from last year signed up for Saturday’s showcase.
“It was the perfect opportunity to give our members and area businesses an opportunity to exhibit,” she said in a phone interview.Art and business showcase
The event flier foretells family-friendly fun for the end of the summer. Kids can decorate sunglasses and have their faces painted. Parents can enjoy live music, giveaways and a dance demo from Higher Movement Dance Studio.
“We have a great day overall –for the farmers market and for everybody that’s exhibiting,” Ford said.
Ford also said a grant from CT Next and the Meriden Economic Development Corporation provided the $135 exhibition fee for local artist John DiRoma and local photographers Ray Gawlak and Pat Henry.
In addition, local businesses like DC Cleaning Service, RJ Media Group, MembersFirst CT Federal Credit Union and Rob's Roofing will be participating.
Rob’s Roofing plans to host a tent and give away company-branded merchandise and discount coupons, said assistant Ann Chabla. This is the first year Rob’s Roofing will be at the Meriden showcase, but Chabla added that the business participated in a similar event hosted in Hamden.
“It gave us the opportunity to get to know more vendors, more of the community, and that ultimately helps the business grow,” she said in a phone interview.
In addition to local businesses, nonprofit and medical organizations like the American Job Center, Chrysalis Domestic Violence Services, Complete Care, Hunter's Ambulance Service, MidState Medical Center - Hartford Healthcare and even the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps will be handing out information and community resources.
The rain date is September 24, although organizers don’t expect to use it. The advance forecast for Saturday calls for sunny weather, with a high of around 86 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. Customer Appreciation Day
The weekly market will continue as usual, said Farmers Market treasurer Ed Peczynski. He estimated about 300 families drift in and out every week, but expects there will be more because of the showcase and walk-a-thon.
“We just looked at it as a synergistic way to get people to both take a look at businesses in the local area and also to check out the farmers market,” he said in a phone interview.
The showcase also coincides with Customer Appreciation Day. Peczynski said the market plans on distributing a shopping bag with apples, doughnuts, dinner rolls and other goodies to thank loyal customers for supporting local farmers.
The weekly local farmers and craft vendors will be attending, but they are likely to stay an hour later than usual, Peczynski said. He added that the coupons program at the market master tent is still in effect for senior citizens or attendees that qualify for SNAP or WIC. Walk-A-Thon
This is the first year that Meriden Running Club founder Derek Destefano participates in the event. He is coordinating a new walk-a-thon in support of education awards for Young Business Leaders and Hispanic Outreach Leaders In Action, two groups hosted by Midstate to support business leaders from under-represented groups.
“We're in the park, we're in the green. What can we do to spread some fitness and some activity there, but also raise awareness for some great local groups that we're trying to support?,” Destefano asked.
The funds will be raised through a $20 registration fee paid on an online Eventbrite listing. However, Destefano said that walk-in registrations would be open and hoped that more would participate.
“I know I will be doing some laps around the green to support [the] committees, certainly, and get a little much-needed exercise,” Ford said.
Latino Communities Reporter Lau Guzmán is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms. Support RFA reporters at the Record-Journal through a donation by clicking here https://bit.ly/3Pdb0re. To learn more about RFA, visit www.reportforamerica.org.