SOUTHINGTON – Businesses along Center Street are holding sidewalk sales and offering kids attractions while the Barnes Museum is open for tours and games this Saturday.
The first-time event, Good Ole’ Summertime, was organized by the Merchants of Downtown Southington. Center Street will be shut down to cars from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. to encourage pedestrians.
Theresa Malloy, owner of Paul Gregory’s and a merchants’ association member, said the success of White Christmas in the Community encouraged a similar summertime event.
”I think it’s a great opportunity, a nice big block party just like White Christmas,” she said.
Paul Gregory’s will have a table outside offering lobster macaroni and cheese, Italian ice and other treats.
Good Ole’ Summertime isn’t just for downtown merchants, Malloy said. Any business can have a table on Center Street.
“It’s an opportunity for merchants to advertise and market themselves,” she said.
Sidewalk sales were popular in years past with downtown stores and restaurants. Sue Urillo Larson, co-chair of the merchants’ association, said Good Ole’ Summertime is hoping to recreate that and draw people downtown.
“It’s more about how Southington was back in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s,” she said. “(Stores) used to put their racks out on the sidewalks.”
The Barnes Museum at 85 N. Main St. will have tours throughout the day. There will also be a performance by the Chamber Singers at 11 a.m., bocce and a Victorian Lady program at 2 p.m.
Pamela DePaolo, owner of DePaolo Furniture on Center Street, said closing the street to vehicles would hurt her business.
“I protested the whole thing,” she said. “That’s going to kill my business for the whole day.”
DePaolo wanted the event to take place on Apple Alley, the small road parallel to Main Street across the town green. She said people walking by aren’t likely to buy furniture and that her normal customers would be kept away by the event.
Urillo Larson said nearby parking lots will be open for cars all day and that the only spaces that won’t be available are those on Center Street.
She hopes the event will be an annual draw and help highlight the downtown and town businesses.
“People can walk up and down Center Street uninhibited and check out all,” Urillo Larson said.