Wilton Winter Carnival returns in February

WILTON — After being canceled last year due to the pandemic, Wilton’s Winter Carnival is set to return.

Chamber of Commerce Director Camille Carriero said the annual event will take place Feb. 6 from noon to 4 p.m. to bring the community together and boost small businesseses during the post-holiday lull.

Coupled with an opportunity for local businesses to benefit from the influx of people to town center, the carnival originally started as a way to bring neighbors together during the cold weather months. Now, Carriero hopes the event will fill that desire to mingle after many have had relatively limited interaction with their neighbors since the onset of the pandemic.

On Feb. 6, the town green will be reconfigured into a space for vendors manning stands, children’s activities such as arts and crafts, a magician performance and an ice sculpting demonstration.

The most anticipated feature of the carnival, Carriero said, is the horse and carriage ride around Wilton Center. This year, the carriage will no longer be enclosed but rather an open carriage that fits more people per ride.

“We modified it this year, it is 100% open,” she said, noting the event organizers strived to make this event fully outdoors in every sense.

She also focused on the amount of new residents that have moved into town and wants to help them acclimate and meet their neighbors.

“This past year, we’ve had so many new people come into Wilton,” she said.

“Coming from the perspective of someone relatively new to the area myself, it is great to come in and see the town and the people of Wilton,” said Jarred Barnes, of the Riverbrook YMCA, who is also sponsoring the event.

He said the Riverbrook YMCA underwent a pretty stark makeover just before the pandemic started, and he hopes to invite new and existing residents back to see all the changes made.

With increased foot traffic, Carriero is hopeful that nearby storefronts and restaurants gain an influx of customers during a typically slow post-holiday streak. She also is encouraging businesses, whether chamber members or not, to run deals or specials that weekend to entice more customers into their doors.

One such business owner will not be asking carnival attendees to come to her door, but rather her window.

Wendy Fellows, a near 20-year Wilton resident and owner of Bubble and Brew, will be one of three food trucks at the event. She will serve freshly baked goods, including gluten-free options, as well as bubble teas and espresso.

Fellows started the food truck business in 2018 after a long career in graphic design.

“One of my all time favorite toys as kid was the E-Z Bake Oven, and I’ve loved baking ever since,” she said. Once her daughter graduated college, she said the pair started looking at brick-and-mortar stores to open a store but high rent prices forced them to think outside the box.

“So we found a very unique French firetruck,” Fellows said. Now, she runs the small operation with her daughter and has stayed very busy, especially during the summer months.

She said it’s even sweeter that she’ll have the opportunity to contribute to an event in her hometown.

“That is one of my favorite things about having the food truck,” Fellows said. The streets here are very narrow and we hardly ever see neighbors except for at Stop & Shop. Working in the truck, I get to see and meet a lot of the people here in town.”