The sunshine was plentiful as Roxanne Sudhoff and her 12-year-old son, Eric, watched a performance by a gymnastics class at the 25th annual Fall Festival Marketplace in Cheshire.
“It’s the perfect day to come here,” said Sudhoff, a Cheshire resident for 10 years. “We like all the arts and crafts and my son loves the games.”
On Saturday, Bartlem Park on Main Street had more than 90 vendors and 30 artisans.
Sheldon Dill, president of the Cheshire Chamber of Commerce, said he saw more people than ever attend this year’s Marketplace.
“There really is something for everybody here,” Dill said. “It’s good to see familiar faces and I’m very pleased with the turnout. This year we hit our record number of vendors.”
Festival goers were able to enjoy food vendors that included Blackie’s Hot Dogs, DiSorbos Bakery, Senor Panchos, Pop’s Pizza, and Bagelicious.
There were also local vendors from the Cheshire Public Library and artisan jewelry and clothing. Dill said local music acts performed, along with the Cheshire Community Chorus and Theater.
Susan Lowe Heaney, of Creative Sewing and Crafts, recycles Capri Sun packets to make lunch boxes and coin purses, as well as recycled denim to make notebook covers.
“This is my first year here and I’m pleasantly surprised with the crowd,” said Heaney, who has been visiting family in the area and decided to have a booth at the festival.
Heather McConnell, a Cheshire resident, said this was her first time coming to the festival and that she was impressed with what it had to offer.
“We came for the music for one daughter and then the rides for the other,” said McConnell, as they were enjoying their fried dough covered with confectioners sugar.
“We’re really enjoying the day,” she said.
For others coming to the fall festival, it has been a family tradition.
“We love watching the performances,” Bozena Walesky said. The Cheshire Youth Cheerleaders, YMCA gymnastics teams, Olympic Taekwondo and the Cheshire Dance Studio were among those performing throughout the day.
Walesky has been coming to the festival for about 16 years and always makes it a family event.
“I bring everyone, the children, and all the cousins,” she said. “We try to stay the whole time until the fireworks start. I always look forward to the booths and supporting local businesses.”
Walesky’s daughter, Eliana, 6, comes for the carnival and said, “my favorite part are the slides.”
The Chamber of Commerce and the Marketplace Committee have worked to prepare for the festival since January.
Jeannine Lavallee, co-chair on the Marketplace Committee and member of the chamber board of directors, said they had around 200 volunteers this year.
“Each year we try provide and build up different facets,” Lavallee said. “Last year we added the ice cream stand and beer and wine and continued that again.”
Lauri Johnson said since she moved to Cheshire five years ago she comes every year for a pastry from DiSorbo’s Bakery and a hot dog from Blackie’s.
“I haven’t missed it yet,” Johnson said.
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