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Nov 12, 2019 1:43 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

First Ever Night Holiday Market Coming To East Hampton Village

Michael Howell
Nov 12, 2019 4:08 PM

The East Hampton Chamber of Commerce may introduce its first-ever nighttime holiday market on Newtown Lane on Saturday, December 7, following the village’s annual Santa Parade.

Michael Howell, the chamber’s membership manager, said the event would be similar to the chamber’s spring fair, which takes place around Mother’s Day on Newtown Lane, with vendors, snacks and music.

Mr. Howell said the chamber came up with the idea in tandem with the Village Board and police department, to make Saturday, December 7, a holiday celebration with festivities such as the Santa Parade, the lighting of the Hook Mill and the lighting of the tree on Main Street.

Some brick-and-mortar store owners on Newtown Lane were upset with the last spring fair, as they believed it lost them business. Mr. Howell said the chamber is taking everyone’s concerns into consideration and meeting with all of the store owners to make sure everything goes smoothly.

Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. said that after the spring fair Village Hall received many concerning phone calls. He said it’s on the chamber to make contact with every single store owner on Newtown Lane.

“I think it’s vibrant,” the mayor said on a positive note. “It’s during the holiday season. We just don’t want folks calling Village Hall and saying, ‘We didn’t know anything about this.’”

Instead of the Santa Parade taking place in the morning, it would be moved to 2:30 p.m., ending in time for the Hook Mill lighting. The chamber would have a band and carolers perform during the mill lighting, as well as at the end of Main Street for the lighting of the tree.

Mr. Howell said the chamber is planning between 40 and 60 local boutiques lining Newtown Lane up to Stop & Shop. “It’s an attempt to bring people into the community to leverage consumer spending,” Mr. Howell said, adding that it will bring customers to the brick-and-mortars as well as the local street merchants.

Board member Rose Brow asked if store owners would stay open later for the festivities, as many of the shops in the village close at 5 p.m. normally. Mr. Howell said all of the shop owners are able to have sidewalk sales during the event. Shops from Main Street will also be invited to have booths and sell their wares.

However, Village Board member Barbara Borsack questioned why the festival couldn’t be in Herrick Park, as the fall and summer fairs are. To that, Mr. Howell said merchants encouraged the market to go down Newtown Lane, similar to street fairs seen in Europe, and other small villages similar to East Hampton.

He added that the event won’t have out-of-town food trucks or vendors, and only carolers from the local churches will be roaming the streets, with no amplified music.

“It was done before,” he said of the spring fair. “It was not everybody’s cup of tea, but we’re going to learn from that lesson.”

Mr. Howell said, so far, the store owners see it as a great event, except one or two whom they’re still working with. He said Golden Pear has already expressed a desire to stay open past 8 p.m. that night and serve hot cocoa.

The chamber has submitted a permit for the event, and if all goes according to plan, the permit will be issued at the upcoming Village Board meeting on Friday, November 15.

“It’s a nice idea to change it up a little bit,” Ms. Brown said.

“Hopefully, people will mingle over to Newtown Lane and enjoy some of the festivities. I hope that some of the merchants stay open late and get involved in the event as well. It’s a real open house for the entire village.”

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