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09/18/2023 02:53 PM

Inaugural Festival to Highlight North Haven Businesses


An opportunity for residents of North Haven and other towns to explore the many commerce options the former has to offer is arriving as the Town of North Haven and Quinnipiac Chamber of Commerce (QCoC) inaugurate the North Haven Festival and Business Expo on Saturday, Sept. 30.

The day-long celebration of local business will act as both the first fall festival date of any kind in North Haven and a day of encouragement in economic development. Over 60 booths with North Haven businesses and nonprofits will promote their services underneath an 80-foot wide tent on the Town Green, with live music, activities, and food accompanying.

“This is an opportunity within an hour or two or three to come in to hear local music from the North Haven Music Center, to see the classic cars...but you also get a chance to stroll around and see and meet and talk to these business owners under this massive tent, rain or shine,” said Ray Andrewsen, Executive Director of the QCoC. “It’s a very, very easy way to access 50, 60, 70 businesses and organizations all in one day. They are going to have their booths. They’re gonna have their own demonstrations. They’re gonna have their own items of support for their business.”

According to First Selectman Mike Freda, the genesis of the event stemmed from the desire to find a location to host major economic development projects or any other larger events with town involvement following the closing of Fantasia Wedding and Banquet Facility on 404 Washington Avenue. With the town’s support, the QCoC-led event will align with the body’s mission to continue propping up local commerce and its contributors.

“The idea is to highlight a place and give the space and certainly create an atmosphere of excitement and attendance for something like this,” said Andrewsen. “Businesses need to be out there—they need to be seen, they need to be known, they need to be experienced. These showcases are very important for businesses.”

The organization of the more than 60 businesses for people in and outside of North Haven’s boundaries presents for the QCoC another way to encourage greater financial success for the town, said Andrewsen. It should also make North Haven’s commitment to being a business-friendly town visible for the future.

“We want to help be creative and have seen changes in town over the years; I look forward to more changes and more new businesses, new concepts, more entrepreneurs, adaptive reuse of some of our buildings,” Andrewsen said. “North Haven is very poised, among other communities, I think in the have a very bright future.”

The location on the Town Green for the first event of its kind in North Haven couldn’t be more ideal due to both its integral place in the town’s history and attraction for residents of multiple municipalities.

“As we’ve seen with other events—and historic and important locations such as the green—if you put together a concert series that tends to support music and culture, and that has grown substantially into a very popular part of North Haven’s annual calendar,” said Andrewsen.

Freda concurred with Andrewsen, saying that the event and its location fall in line with the First Selectman’s thinking on how to utilize the Town Green in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“What we see is when you get more people engaged, like we do in the concerts and this event coming up, it really even more tightly knit a community, and this event not only tightly knits a community, but ties in something very important to us also the businesses in town,” said Freda.

Along with businesses, there will also be town organizations and nonprofits with booths under the main tent. The North Haven Historical Society is among the nonprofits that will have a booth at the event. Volunteer Sue Iverson said the Historical Society sees the commerce demographic as one that can benefit from knowledge of local history.

“Forming associations with all groups in town, including business owners, can also benefit us,” said Iverson. “The Historical Society has helped many business owners in the past; we’ve been able to give them info on funding opportunities for their properties...historical background on their properties, and more. Economic development relies on many different parties being able to come together; we can be a small part of that process.”

Other town entities that will have booths at the event include the North Haven Memorial Library and the Senior Center.

On the festive aspect of the event, music from the North Haven Music Center will be played, while Wallingford Family YMCA will provide a kid-friendly activities zone. Food vendors include Italian fare from J Roo’s Restaurant, a specialty serving of chowder by CT Chowder CoJoe’s Ice Cream, and a variety of food from the Corinthian Masonic Lodge.

Craft vendors will also be present, selling their works to festivalgoers. In the corner of the green by Trumbull Place will be a classic car show featuring antique drives from the DooWop Cruisers.

The inaugural North Haven Festival and Business Expo will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30. Admission to the Town Green is free. For more info, visit