NEWINGTON – Costumed children prancing around the downtown neighborhood on the hunt for candy. Halloween, six months early? Easter, right on time.
The Newington Downtown Business Association harnessed together every hair salon, café and yoga studio in the center of town last Thursday for its annual Easter Egg Hunt Around the Center.
Families weren’t told to show up in costumes, but many did anyway. Instead of October’s witches and goblins – however, Market Square, Main Street and Constance Leigh Drive were teeming with flowery dresses, superheroes and lots and lots of rabbits.
Posted outside of Hair on the Square, Sam Murphy greeted children with a basket of shiny-wrapped treats that never seemed to empty.
“I enjoy seeing how happy the kids are,” she said.
Newington resident Carol Pakutka and her granddaughter Olivia Maslauskas, 4, frequently shop downtown.
“She does the trick or treat here, too, so we thought this would be fun today,” Pakutka said, referring to the DBA’s Halloween event, which is similar to the Easter gathering with candy collection at businesses.
Not only are both events fun for kids, they give their adult counterparts the opportunity to check out new storefronts downtown and business owners, to market themselves. That was the original idea DBA officers had when they first organized these “around the center” happenings several years back.
“It certainly draws a lot of people into the downtown area that wouldn’t normally come,” Vice President Richard Simons said during a trick-or-treat event a few years back. “Besides giving back to the community it’s about getting our businesses exposure.”
Newington resident Valerie Wicke and her 4-year-old son Dorian took in the sights during their afternoon stroll Thursday.
“It’s nice being reminded of the different shops down here,” Wicke said. “We’re here sometimes but not as often as we should. I like the Paper Station and The Little Cake Café,” she noted.
Wearing a red and yellow Star Wars T-shirt and retro sunglasses, Dorian’s enthusiasm spiked when a giant white rabbit came around.
The Easter bunny stayed mainly in Constitution Square, where families gathered for face painting and temporary tattooing. He plopped down on a bench, a convenient spot for picture-posing with charmed children.
“It’s really a joy to see the different ages, brothers and sisters taking care of each other,” said Cindy Stamm, sitting outside on the porch of Century-21 Stamm-Eddy, overlooking the square.
“We had a mom come by with her children who had just moved to town,” Stamm pointed out. “She said it was good to see what businesses are here. They were excited to learn what Newington has to offer.”
Erica Schmitt can be reached at 860-801-5097, or firstname.lastname@example.org.