One of the biggest challenges local businesses and town officials face in downtown Hamilton and Wenham is getting people to stop and see what they have to offer.
It might be impossible for drivers who are making their way through the two town downtown to ignore what will be going on this weekend. On Saturday, there wil be dozens of reasons to spend all day downtown.
The is sponsoring its inaugural from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
In addition to downtown businesses, there will be 46 vendors lining 300 at Main in Wenham and Railroad Avenue in Hamilton, pretty much from the Wenham town line to . There will also be food, entertainment and some special surprises.
“I think (the fair) is a great way to get people downtown,” said Marcie Ricker, planning coordinator for the town of Hamilton. “I think this is a great way for people to come downtown, walk around and see something they might not have known existed.”
“This is certainly to celebrate the fall but also for people in the area see to what shops are downtown and not pass by to go to the mall … or to Rockport.”
Don Robinson, who owns and Henderson’s Gifts and is a member of the Merchants group, also hopes those who are unaware of what the towns of Hamilton and Wenham offer will be impressed.
“Our hope – you have no idea how many people live in these towns and don’t know that so many of these stores are here – is this (event) will give everyone a chance to see what we have to offer.”
Ricker feels the idea is a no-brainer because she thinks one of the beauties of a small town business district is the window shopping.
“I like to go downtown, park one to two blocks away and walk past interesting storefronts. We hope do some planning (in the future) and have more appealing streetscapes.
The event is not only about businesses making a sale or gaining a new fan. There will be entertainment – a magician, music, Scandinavian dancers and possibly an African drummer and food.
There is also a can’t-miss booth - the selectman from both Hamilton and Wenham will be there to answer questions, take suggestions and listen to criticism. They have also engaged in an apple pie contest that will be judged by the Council on Aging.
The Hamilton-Wenham Merchants Association just recently decided on its name. However, it is the same group that hosted the . It is an organization in which members can band together to be more powerful than when each business works individually. That can be something like Harvest in the Village or pooling their resources together to buy advertising or host a simultaneous sale.
“(The Merchants group is) trying to promote the downtown businesses as a group instead of independently,” said Robinson. “That will give us a little more visibility.”