Things are changing at the Cheshire Chamber of Commerce Fall Festival & Marketplace.
A new year means new location for the annual event, along with more vendors, crafters, food choices and entertainment to enjoy.
“I am so excited,” said Yetta Augur, Cheshire Chamber of Commerce president. “This is really such a wonderful, family friendly event, and we can’t wait for it (to kick off).”
While the Festival remains at Barlem Park, it will be moving from one side of the property to the other, as the new location provides more space for vendors and attendees to enjoy all that the day has to offer.
The impetus for the change came last year after a week’s worth of inclement weather left the fields on which the Festival was set up in a soggy, muddy state.
“Someone had mentioned that the other field had better drainage,” explained Augur, “so we started to explore whether a move like this would be possible.”
Augur credits Chamber Committee members Don Walesky, Jeanine LaVallee, and Monica Napolitano for spearheading the effort to move locations.
“They all worked very hard to make sure that this happened,” said Augur.
“I hope people realize it’s the first year of this big change, and I’m sure there may be a few hiccups, but I believe it will be a good move,” she continued. “We are asking for everyone’s patience, but we are hoping the glitches are few … and we believe it will be a great day.”
The location of the event isn’t the only thing changing. The popular car show will also look different this year, as more antique cars and vintage motorcycles are expected to take part. Rick Atkins, a member of the Chamber Fall Festival Committee, has taken the reins of the show and worked with previous organizers, as well as numerous car clubs in the area, to expand on the fan favorite exhibit.
“He was really able to bring in a lot of different people,” said Augur.
While the main event will be held on Saturday, the kickoff to the Fall Festival will once again take place on Friday. As of last week, nine food trucks were scheduled to be on hand at Bartlem Park on Friday, Sept. 13, including Thai Taste, Christiano’s Mobile, and Ted’s Cheeseburgers, to name a few.
The highlight of the evening will be the music of Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez, who will take to the stage at 7 p.m. for a special performance. Ohlman, a Cheshire native, rose to fame as a member of the Saturday Night Live band.
The Saturday Festival will open at 10 a.m. and soon after will feature a performance from the Cheshire High School Ram Marching Band. That will lead into a day filled with music and activities, as both the main and second stage will be occupied throughout the course of the afternoon and into the evening.
“We are going to have a free exercise program called Free Movement,” said Augur. “It’s going to start with Yoga at 9 a.m., by Be Here Now Yoga Studio, and then at 10 a.m. there will be jazzercise by Jazzercise Hamden.”
A dunk tank is also planned, as well as a special “pitch tent,” sponsored by Dr. Dave Daniels, who was a professional baseball player. “You’ll have to beat his fastball,” said Augur, with a laugh.
And in celebration of the town’s 325th anniversary, a special “325 Tent” will be located in the middle of the Festival. Underneath the tent, the Town of Cheshire Economic Development Commission will have a booth set up, along with the Cheshire Public Library, the Cheshire Historical Society, and Ball & Socket Arts.
“Each of them will give a glimpse into an aspect of Cheshire history,” said Augur.
In total, the Festival has more crafters scheduled to attend than ever before, as well as 70-plus vendors, organizers state.
As for Augur, this will be her second year as Chamber President during the Festival, and she hopes to get out and mingle with vendors and visitors as much as possible.
“I’d like to be out on the field more, welcoming everyone who comes in,” she said.
“This really is such a wonderful community-oriented event, and it wouldn’t be possible without the cooperation and partnership of everyone involved,” she continued. “Public Works, Parks and Rec., Town Hall, the Police and Fire Departments … they all come together to make this a safe and fun event for everyone.”
The Cheshire Chamber of Commerce Fall Festival & Marketplace will be held Friday, Sept. 13, and Saturday, Sept. 14. The Kiwanis Club Carnival will also be held on both days.