Street closures add to Sidewalk Days success

Shawn Hardy

The success of the 50th annual Sidewalk Days was highlighted by Georgina Cranston, executive director of the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce, and Loren Martin of ELM Shoes during Monday’s borough council meeting.

The pair spoke at the request of Councilman Charles Eckstine, who serves on the chamber board, and stressed how much work is done behind the scenes for events like Sidewalk Days and Heritage Christmas.

He asked how many people went to Sidewalk Days and hands were raised throughout the room. He then asked how many people enjoyed it better with the streets closed and the hands went up again.

For the second year, parts of Baltimore and Carlisle streets were closed to traffic for Sidewalk Days.

Cranston said getting permission from council to close the streets enhances safety and also contributes to the overall experience. Sidewalk Days on July 7 and 8 had more vendors than ever before and record crowds.

“I don’t think we can ever go back to having the roads open,” Cranston said. “I know it’s not an easy process and it’s not easy on the fire police.”

Martin said closing the streets helps create a festival-type atmosphere and people linger downtown, which contributes to a rise in sales.

“We do as much business in two days as we do in two weeks,” Martin said. Last year, the first year the streets were closed, ELM saw sales rise 10 percent. This year, sales grew another 24 percent over last year.

“The chamber does a great deal for the community,” Eckstine said, lauding the board members, committee people and volunteers.

He said the chamber brings businesses together for networking opportunities such as the monthly breakfast meetings with guest speakers.