Street Fair Comes to Newtown Lane

Chamber initiative is a ‘community celebration’
The Lynn Blue Band will perform during the street fair on Newtown Lane on Saturday.

For the first time in memory, East Hampton Village’s Newtown Lane will be shut for a street fair featuring live music, community organizations, crafts booths, and a children’s play zone. The fair, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, is the first major undertaking by the East Hampton Chamber of Commerce’s new director, Steve Ringel.

“The idea for this for me was not a traditional village street fair but a community celebration,” Mr. Ringel said. “I am amazed and happy about the turnout, especially the nonprofits.”

Newtown Lane will be closed from the Park Place corner to Main Street for most of the day. The village’s two-hour parking limit in the Reutershan and North Main Street lots will be in effect, which, Mr. Ringel said, means that visitors intending to stop by the fair for a short time will likely be able to find a place for their vehicles.

Parking and free shuttles will be available in the long-term lots accessed from Gingerbread Lane, he said.

Approximately 65 booths will be set up along the center of Newtown Lane. This, Mr. Ringel said, would keep businesses on either side from being shielded from view. Many business owners in the village planned to take part in the fair, he said, with specials or sales. Getting them on board took his walking door to door this spring to make his pitch in person, he said. “They were for the most part, maybe 95 percent, willing to give it a try, and they have gotten excited about it.”

No food or beverage vending will take place within the fair itself. Mr. Ringel said he made that decision to encourage visitors to patronize the village’s restaurants.

As to bathroom visits, Mr. Ringel said, the chamber had rented a luxury restroom trailer that will be parked in the parking lot access between the Capital One bank and the Theory clothing shop. “We did not want people to have to look at porta-potties, and nobody wants to go in those things anyway,” he said.

Mr. Ringel said that bands will perform from the back of an “old-school” flatbed truck at the intersection of Main Street and Newtown Lane. A bluegrass combo with guest musicians from Brooklyn will go on first, followed by East Hampton Town Justice Steven Tekulsky and friends playing folk rock at about 12:35. Job Potter and friends will play New Orleans boogie after that, and the Lynn Blue Band takes the stage around 4 p.m.

At the other end of the fair, the kids zone will include a climbing wall, arts and crafts organized by the Children’s Museum of the East End, face painting, and other activities. There will be two pet-adoption vans, one from the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons and the other from Gimme Shelter in Southampton. Free outdoor yoga classes will be offered on the lawn in front of the Eileen Fisher shop.

“We’ll have a full slate of politicians from both parties and a place to register to vote with the League of Women Voters,” Mr. Ringel said. The East Hampton Village Ambulance Association will give cardiopulmonary resuscitation lessons and have an ambulance there for close inspection.

Nonprofits will offer early ticket packages and information about their programs and the upcoming season. They include Guild Hall, the Bay Street Theater, the Amagansett Village Improvement Society, Ellen’s Run, Project Most, the Pollock-Krasner House, the Ross School, Share the Harvest Farm, and the Hamptons International Film Festival.

“Everybody who wanted a spot was given one. Nobody was turned away,” Mr. Ringel said. “If you come to this, you’re really going to get a sense of the best of East Hampton.”

The arts and crafts makers taking part are for the most part local people, not the usual ones seen at the summer arts fairs. For many, Saturday will be their first street fair, he said. They include Sharp Hamptons knife service, Eros Design, Vasiliki Lagis Handbags, Miss Amy’s Preserves, DiBernardo Carvings, Sag Harbor Glass, Jacqueline Rene Jewelry, the Art Nanny, White Elephant Designs, and Peter Spacek Art.

Mr. Ringel, a native of Hollywood who previously worked for the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and has organized farmers markets and produced music, art, and wine festivals, pitched the idea for a street fair to the East Hampton Village Board last winter. The board was initially skeptical, with parking, any negative impact on merchants, and an accumulation of garbage among the concerns. Subsequent meetings with board members and merchants assuaged those concerns, and the board voted to approve a special live entertainment permit on March 17.

“This could not have happened without the support of the mayor and trustees,” Mr. Ringel said. “They deserve a thank-you for everything they’ve done.”

With Reporting by Christopher Walsh