Streetfest changes impresses organizers, businesses - Aug. 3, 2017
BY DENNY SCOTT
A slight variation of the annual Blyth Streetfest took place on Saturday and organizers say it was a big success.
Streetfest, a Blyth Business Improvement Area (BIA) initiative that has previously seen a section of County Road 4 closed to host events and vendors, moved to the sidewalks this year, leaving the road open.
Streetfest committee members Irene Kellins and Sharon Davis told The Citizen that the move turned out to be a benefit for the organization.
“Local business owners really liked the change,” Kellins said. “We’re taking that information and running with it.”
Kellins explained that Streetfest, in its earliest form, was designed to bring people to the village primarily to market Blyth’s main street and the vendors.
“We don’t want to lose sight of the fact that it’s for the businesses,” she said. “That’s why the BIA runs Streetfest: to benefit the businesses.”
The event features vendors, Kellins said, but doesn’t try to take away from the downtown businesses.
Plans for next year’s event are already underway, the duo said, and whether the event returns to a street party on a closed road or it repeats this year’s decision to have vendors on the sidewalk has yet to be determined.
“It’s 50/50 right now as to whether we change back or stay,” Kellins said.
Davis, whose former storefront Sharon’s Cars in Miniatures served as headquarters for the event, said that Streetfest was a big success and that the vendors had plenty of potential shoppers.
There were 14 vendors on the sidewalks and local businesses benefitted from their presence, Davis said, with some reporting that they would consider extra staff if the event is repeated in the same way next year.
“Everything went well,” Kellins said. “The weather co-operated and we’re very pleased with how it turned out.”
Vendors also expressed excitement at the chance to be a part of the event again, Davis said, pointing to the fact that one of the vendors who operated a food truck ran out of supplies halfway through the event.
The Festival of Wizardry, an upcoming convention-type event proposed for the Blyth Campground which focuses on fictional magic stories, also had a booth where they were able to recruit many volunteers, Kellins said.
“All the vendors said things went well,” she said.
The event was originally changed from the closed-street approach to work with the Blyth 140th Anniversary group, which planned events at Blyth Lions Park. Kellins said it was great working with the group and the Streetfest committee was happy with the end result.