BEACHWOOD – The goal was something for everyone, and that goal was certainly met.
The Beachwood Fire Company’s Family Market Day was held on a hot Saturday in July. People walked from their homes or from their cars parked down the street to shop dozens of tables and take part in other activities for all ages.
Bill Hopson, captain of the fire company and coordinator for the event, said that this was the second time the event was held.
Last year, he said it was a leap of faith. “We thought this up and did it in three weeks.”
The area was in the midst of the pandemic and people needed something to do. They missed the community events. While large fairs and festivals were being cancelled left and right, this was small enough to be able to go on provided that they followed regulations like social distancing.
The vendors missed the community events, too. Some of them lost out on significant income without any fairs to attend.
So, Hopson said, the fire company wanted to support these small business owners, too. They liked a smaller event. At bigger festivals, they might get passed by because there’s so much to see. Here, customers can take their time and really look at their merchandise, and maybe even form a connection with the dealers.
At the end of last year’s, they asked the vendors what was done right and what could be done better. They got a lot of great feedback.
Some tables featured games to win, face painting or balloon animals. Others had dog treats, beauty products, interior decoration, beach items, flower art, or any number of crafts and services.
After one kind of vendor signed up, no other vendor of that type was allowed, Hopson said. That let everyone have their own place in the sun. For example, there was just one farmers market instead of multiple farmers competing with each other.
The same could be said of the food trucks, which included breakfast, lunch and sweet treats. The event ran from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., so breakfast was a possibility.
There was also a conscious effort to provide variety for the visitors. Bury the Hatchet returned with a mobile target and axes. There was also a dunk tank and rock wall. Activities like this aren’t usually at craft fairs.
Musician Kenny Curcio was recruited for the day. Originally a local, he has recently moved to Nashville as his country music career is starting to take off. It was fortunate to be able to snag him while he was playing Atlantic City, Hopson said, because he’s in demand. Music isn’t something you usually hear at a market so it was a nice touch to add that flavor.
Last year, they renovated the hall with the $3,200 they raised. The hall is a fundraising mechanism of its own so that improvement should help the firehouse in the long run. This year, they expected to make close to $4,000.