New Ridgefield event planner to coordinate downtown activities

RIDGEFIELD — the streets were packed with people, business owners had their doors open, there was live music and food — that’s what downtown Ridgefield looked like during the Sidewalk Sale a few years ago. Sidewalk Sales hasn’t been held in years, but town resident Mike Liberta is determined to bring Sidewalk Sales back to life.

That’s just one of his goals in his new role as town event coordinator. Part-time, 24/7 paid positions include planning and organizing his four annual events in town. Combined with sidewalk sales.

This position reports to downtown Ridgefield and works in conjunction with the Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce and the Ridgefield Economic and Community Development Commission.

Previously, the four events were organized by members of Downtown Ridgefield, an organization of local businesses and nonprofits that help strengthen and beautify Downtown Ridgefield. Downtown Ridgefield has 55 merchants.

Members of Downtown Ridgefield previously volunteered to run four events. But Liberta said it is becoming increasingly difficult to find members who can volunteer.

Libertà, 82, of Ridgefield, who was one of the first board members of Downtown Ridgefield to incorporate in 2003, said, “They didn’t have time, so they took up a new position as event coordinator. We’ll find out what the association wants to do, then we’ll hire the people we need to do that, and we’ll coordinate the whole thing.”

A $30,000 project, the Holiday Stroll includes the acquisition of a horse and carriage, a magician, an ice sculpture, a caroler from New York City, and a disc jockey.

Liberta said Sidewalk Sales ceased operations after not having enough merchants on board. He hopes to revive it this July. He added that he hopes to attract. This is called Summer Festival. He checks if parks are available and is also looking for vendors.

“Advertise Your Business”

Liberta said one of the biggest challenges in planning Sidewalk Sales events and helping businesses in general is getting merchants to promote their business. He said the store no longer marketed itself.

“I try to convince them that you have to sign a sale or do some kind of promotion to make people want to come to your store. They tend to stay and wait for someone to come in. When we host these events, they need to open their doors,” said Libertad’s Spirit shop at 393 Main Street at 32 Libertà, who owned it for a year, said he closed the store in 2012. Located at Zoe & Co Sugarbeads and J.McLaughlin.

“We keep saying we shop local, but merchants need to advertise that they are local and I am here to help you. In addition to his new position, Libertà, a Vietnam veteran, is involved in several nonprofit organizations in the city, including the Ridgefield Lions Club and the American Legion.

“A lot of people walk by the storefront when the store is closed. If you put something in the window and advertise something, people will see it. You don’t have to pay,” he said. Told. “You pay rent for where you are, but you have to encourage people to come in. And when they come in, you have to sell.”

He said he fell in love with Ridgefield, just like the name of his event.

“When you drive into town, Main Street is New England with old buildings,” says Libertà. “People are very friendly. There are a lot of volunteers in this town, helping people. Just that kind of friendship. Wherever I go, I always meet people. It makes me feel good.” .”

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