Sunday Fun – No Football, Fresh Air, Fun for Family!

Sunday Opening of The Shakespeare Market

By Tom Dillon

The Shakespeare Market is coming to town and it aims to move in! Approximately 20 vendors and community groups will gather on the grounds of the American Shakespeare Festival Theater this Sunday, January 17th from 10 am to 1pm.

Food and craft vendors will continue to bring the fruits of their labor to the people of Stratford on the first and third Sundays through April 18th. And if all goes well, it just may become an institution in town.

Whether driving in or walking down, you will find an amazing array of choices from Connecticut raised pork and angus beef, by Eaglewood Farms and Why Not Farm. Lovers of the Monday Farmer’s Market at Paradise Green, faithfully run by Laurie and Ed from Pepe’s Cream of the Crop, will recognize Dave Finn of Eaglewood Farms who has been participating for years. You can thank Dave Finn for suggesting the idea of trying to start a new market in the dead of winter!

Add flavor with Dave’s Angry Sauce. Say hi to Mo Jenkins, owner of Mugger’s Marrow. He’s been making “Stick ‘Em Up!” grilling glazes and marinades since 2015. Betzy’s Latin Flavors will bring her hand crafted frozen empanadas and in the future may be serving them up hot and fresh!

Wave Hill Breads, a family business run for the past 15 years, will be there too offering artisan breads featured at markets throughout the state. Last May they were listed on foodandwine.com as one of the 100 best bakeries in America!

Sara Blersch from Daffodil Hill Growers will have winter squash, carrots, potatoes, Japanese turnips and a few other surprises.

The Shakespeare Market is much more than food and craft. Community partners include Sterling House and the YMCA.

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library will all be there too. Janet Lengel, born and raised in Stratford, a retired school teacher and all around civic champion will share information about how we can team up to support literacy by providing a book to every child every month from birth to six!

Angela Capineri of Your Mind in Bloom, a local business, will be there to share information about her services in tutoring and resume writing.

Other community groups are signing up in droves to come and share what they are doing to create good things in Stratford and will be featured in future markets. Whether you are looking for something new to wear, make your skin feel great or want to add a breath of fresh air with some new decorations you can find something at the market.

Stratford residents Jennifer Csedrik and Flora Shein are also veterans of the great Monday Farmer’s Market at Paradise Green. Bringing joy with inspirational apparel and reimagining your favorite family textiles into Memory Bears are Jen and Flora’s passion. Whitney Foss down in Lordship was instrumental in making connections that brought some great crafters to town. Whitney’s She Shell Gifts makes decorative items from the shells that line Stratford’s beaches. Pink Moon by Brook, Teresa Rainieri Fine Art, Shop Our Dyes all came from a pop up craft market hosted by The Pantry in Fairfield. Resident Annemarie Michaud of Designs of Homestead offers beautiful woodworking decorations that can be made custom to order.

Nicole Georgakis of Keep it Simple Skin care will be there with handcrafted cold press soaps for you and your dogs! Leashed dogs are permissible, so bring them along to get their opinion too.

Hot food will be provided by Paradise Island food truck. Luis Negron is a veteran of the Latin Festival held every year in town. Gladys Ramos together with Olga Pena were instrumental in making the connection with Luis! More food trucks and hot food vendors are in process with their approvals and if all goes well they may be there too. Stay tuned!

These are COVID times and people are expected to have their masks covering the mouth and nose at all times while at the market. Much of the parking lot behind the White House will be roped off for a pedestrian only zone. Vendors will be spaced out and there will be wide pedestrian aisles. One-way foot traffic will be enforced and everyone should stay socially distanced.

The vendor’s booths and the hot food area have been separated so while inside the pedestrian area patrons are asked to always have their masks on. Complete COVID guidelines will be posted on www.theshakespearemarket.org before the event. The good news is, if you ever feel claustrophobic, there are 14 beautiful acres abutting the Housatonic River.

If there is something missing, hang tight! More than 70 vendors have reached out to participate in the past 10 days and plans are being made to include more and more as the market develops. If you have a great idea, bring your own pen and paper and there will be a suggestion box at the exit. This is Stratford’s market, so don’t hesitate to reach out to participate or contribute ideas that will bring us all together every first and third Sunday of the month!

The Shakespeare Market is our chance to bring our community together and Celebrate Stratford. The possibilities are endless, as COVID allows there is plenty of room to expand the number of vendors and you can expect live music and a variety of performances from local dance studios to the martial arts. The Shakespeare Market can be the place where our community shines together.

But wait, there’s more…and if you want to find out what it is “Mask Up, Come on Down, and Social Distance with Us!!” Come join us in our inaugural opening.

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