The Slice of Saugatuck Returns
The third annual Slice of Saugatuck Festival is fast approaching with lawn signs, banners and posters popping up all over town announcing its return. This crowd pleaser of an event is set to go off on Sunday September 14, from 1-4pm (rain date Sept 21). The family friendly Wine & Food and Retail Experience has once again expanded, both in the number of participating venues and what is being offered to the festival goer, especially kids.
“The festival is back and it’s bigger,” said WWCC Executive Director Matthew Mandell, “Not only will there be tastings at over two dozen eateries, and great offerings by all the other merchants; there will be a mini maker space, drones, obstacle courses, bouncy houses, magicians, hoola hoops and rock climbing. The kids are going to love it.”
Also added this year, will be a retrospective of historic Saugatuck created by the Town curator Kathie Bennewitz. It will feature many old photos of the area, historic items and a copy of the, currently being restored, Saugatuck Mural by Robert Lambdin.
“Overall it’s a triple win for Westport,” Mandell continued, “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 $5000 donation from proceeds from the prior festival. “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.”
Originally created and run by Matthew Mandell as an RTM member in 2011, the festival is a walking, eating and retail tour of Saugatuck Center where each merchant offers tastes of their wares to promote what they do. Initially with 30 participating merchants the first year, it now stands at 44, further promoting the boom in restaurants and retail in the area.
Harry Brady, co-owner of Viva Zapata’s one of the first eateries to back the concept, said, “the festival is such a positive for business and the area. We are looking forward to again seeing the streets filled with people coming to check it out and see how vibrant things are.”
Tickets, with a passport to take around for tastes, will cost $10 per adult and $5 for Children 6-12. There will be at least five locations throughout the area with different bands playing. These include: three Staples student bands to showcase Toquet Hall, the Town teen center, as well as Miss Suzy’s Opus, Silver Steel, Trag and the School of Rock. 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. Railroad place will be closed to traffic creating and enhancing a block party feel.
For information, a list of merchants and a map of the event go to: www.westportwestonchamber.com/saugatuck