Shop for Valentine Sweethearts

The Shakespeare Market

By Tom Dillon
Correspondent

The Shakespeare Market has burst at the seams! The outpouring of enthusiasm was so overwhelming at our debut performance, the only way to keep up with demand was to double the effort! The market will now run on the first and third Saturdays and Sundays through April 18th.

With turnout as high as it was the most reasonable way to reduce the crowds was not toextend hours but to double the days. The number of local small businesses and entrepreneurs looking to set up shop at the Market has now swollen to 125! By extending the market to Saturday and Sunday, nearly 30 more vendors have been asked to show off their talents and skills to the Stratford community.

Second time visitors to the Market will see some of the same faces who will be the Market’s food producing backbone. Eaglewood Farms, Daffodil Hill Growers, Why Not Farms, and Wave Hill Breads will be there almost every Saturday and Sunday to provide your core locally grown and harvested foods. Andy’s Microgreens will be there on Sundays going forward and Hydrofresh will be starting on Saturdays later this month.

A rolling roster of food and crafts will be available throughout the season. Each weekend and each day will have new vendors and events so keep a close eye out! You will have to keep an eye on the schedule for fresh new faces and the vendors that come to seem like old family friends.

A bevy of bakers and confectioners will be there for the last market before Valentine’s Day. Stratford’s own Royal Confections will be there alongside our neighbors from Oronoque Farms! Who is already drooling over the idea of cider donuts? Muggers Marrow and Dave’s Angry Sauce will be there on Sundays and Wanke’s Yankee Hot Sauce is available on Saturdays.

This is the best outdoor Valentine’s Day shopping location in Stratford ever! Check the schedule for a host of options for that special someone. Several vendors will have a wide variety of jewelry in both style and price. It is not just jewelry either! There is something for everyone, so come and see what catches your eye!

There will be a massive increase in the hot food options. Paradise Island, Betzy’s Latin Flavors, Calandrelli Kettle Corn, The Melting Truck will all be there! And Riehl Cool Craft and Confections will have hot chocolate, tea, and cookies. Rita’s Pita’s, The Grateful Dog, and a few more will be attending later in the season as well!

The food trucks will all be moved into the small parking lot at the top of the hill to increase the number of parking spaces and give people more room to spread out as they queue up for their treat of choice! Social distancing is the most important aspect of the next markets. Everyone should have each other’s safety and personal space on the top of their mind. Eating and drinking is only permitted outside of the vendor Pedestrian Area. Masks must be worn over the nose and mouth at all times in the Pedestrian Area.

If you are fortunate to live within a 20-minute walk of the property you should thank your lucky stars! There is no better way to get to the market than to walk. With the amount of interest that was demonstrated on January 17 th , parking will continue to be a challenge. The good news is that the Town has stepped up and will be providing two police officers to direct traffic on Elm Street as well as members of the Police Explorers who will be managing the parking lots. Cars entering off Elm Street will be directed into the parking lot and, if there are no spots available, they will be routed out the back of the property onto Shore Road. No vehicle traffic will be allowed in the road around the field where the theater once stood.

And while vendors are great, The Shakespeare Market wants to be more than that. The YMCA, Sterling House and The Dolly Parton Imagination Library will all be attending on dates throughout the season. Clear Captions is a service for the hard of hearing that makes communicating with loved ones easy again! Later in the month several other charitable organizations will be coming out to share their work as well! And that is not even the half of it! The only way to see it all is to come out this weekend….twice! A different market both days, each with its own roster of incredible entrepreneurs willing to come out and stand in the cold to provide us all with a place to go and something to do!

Let’s just make sure that we do our best to do this safely! Mask up, come on down and social distance with us this Saturday AND Sunday at The Shakespeare Market!!

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