Savor a 'Slice of Saugatuck' on Sunday
Published 6:27 am, Friday, September 12, 2014
Get your appetites ready. The third Slice of Saugatuck Festival will be served up Sunday.
The family-friendly wine, food and retail experience has expanded, both in the number of participating venues and what is being offered to the festival-goer, especially for kids, according to organizers.
"The festival is back and it's bigger," said Mathew Mandell, a Slice founder and executive director of the Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce. "Not only will there be tastings at over two dozen eateries, and great offerings by all the other merchants, but there will also be a `Mini Maker' space, drones, obstacle courses, bouncy houses, magicians, hoola hoops and rock climbing," he added. "The kids are going to love it."
Organized and run by Mandell as a Representative Town Meeting member in 2011, the festival is a walking, eating and retail tour of the Saugatuck Center and area streets, where each merchant offers tastes of their wares to promote what they do.
There were 30 participating merchants the first year, a number that has grown to 44, further promoting the boom in restaurants and retail in the area, Mandell said. Also added this year will be a retrospective of historic Saugatuck created by the town curator Kathie Bennewitz. It will feature old photos of the area, historic items and a copy of the Saugatuck Mural by Robert Lambdin, which is currently being restored.
"Overall, it's a triple win for Westport," Mandell said of the festival. "It promotes the Saugatuck merchants and area, gives the community a great event and raises money for the homeless and hungry."
The Homes with Hope Gillespie Food Pantry will again be the beneficiary, having received a $5,000 donation from proceeds from the prior festival, Mandell said.
"This is a great partnership for us," said Homes with Hope Executive Director Jeff Weiser. "Our residents get paid to work at the festival, it supports our food pantry, and it gives the entire neighborhood a boost."
"The festival is such a positive for business and the area," said Harry Brady, co-owner of Viva Zapata, one of the first restaurants to back the concept, according to Mandell. "We are looking forward to again seeing the streets filled with people coming to check it out and see how vibrant things are."
There will be at least five locations throughout the area with different bands playing, Mandell said.
The historic Saugatuck Fire Station will again be a center for fun and learning as the Fire Department will bring out the antique truck and the fire safety trailer to teach kids what to do in case of a fire.
The festival will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. In case of rain, it will be postponed to Sept. 21.
Tickets, with a passport to take around for tastes, will cost $10 per adult and $5 for children aged 6 to 12.
During the event, Railroad Place will be closed to traffic creating and enhancing a block-party feel, Mandell said.
For information, a list of merchants and a map of the event go to: www.westportwestonchamber.com/saugatuck