Chamber of Commerce looks forward to summer fair

Memorial Day weekend has arrived, heralding the unofficial start of summer. Can the Wilton Chamber of Commerce summer street fair and sidewalk sale be far behind?

The answer is no, according to Chamber Executive Director Debra Hanson. The sixth annual event is planned for Saturday, July 15, from 10 to 4.

“We do have on board Kimco Realty and Pet Pantry/Blue Buffalo as the main sponsors so far. Vendors are signing up as well as entertainment,” said Hanson. “We do expect hundreds of attendees, as in past years, and we will again have a special focus on family fun and dog activities.”

The reason for the fair and sidewalk sale is simple: “We do the event to bring people to Wilton, to provide a fun event for the community and exposure to our businesses,” she said.

There are dozens of businesses downtown, and there is room for more. Kimco happens to be a major purveyor of downtown retail space, and has 285,000 square feet under management.

About 10% of that is available, said Daryl Finn, property manager for Kimco.

“We work with local brokers, and our agent uses her industry contacts to rent out our retail portion. The office portion is more local leasing,” Finn said.

“Blue Buffalo, the pet food company, just agreed to take extra space. That means they will stay with us quite a while. They are bullish on the community,” Finn said.

Kimco also sponsored the Chamber’s Taste of Wilton event on April 3.

“I think downtown Wilton is an easy sale realty-wise because it’s a wonderful community,” he said.

Last year was the company’s first year sponsoring the summer festival.

“We want to be more visible in the community and create interest in the business community,” Finn said.

“I think the summer fair gives people a great opportunity to see what’s offered in the area. We use it as an information campaign, not just for the property but for downtown Wilton, because there are beautiful shops along  River Road. It’s a very pedestrian-friendly place and we’re trying to promote that, as a one-stop shop for entertainment, food and work,” said Finn.