Newtonville Village Day returned in full swing this year with musical performances and more than 50 vendor booths featuring local artists, businesses, nonprofits, and entrepreneurs.
“This day means so much to the community,” said Maura Harrington, co-coordinator of Village Day 2021. “There are a lot of people who are really appreciative that we had this event this year because we’ve been so locked up due to COVID-19.”
Music from Newton North High School’s Jazz Ensemble started off the event, which took place Sept. 26 on Walnut Street, Highland Avenue, and Austin Street and included activities for kids such as crafts and train rides. Last year it was canceled due to the pandemic.
Many Newtonville residents said they missed Village Day last year and were excited to be back around friends and neighbors.
David and Betsy Martin, who recently moved to Newtonville, said they were excited to see faces — both familiar and new — after a year inside.
“There are so many people here not just from Newtonville but also other villages,” David Martin said. “It’s cool to meet new people and hear about local businesses that I wouldn’t normally know about.”
Betsy Martin said it was nice to have an outdoor event to build relationships. “Especially for us since we’ve only been here a year,” she said.
For some vendors, this year was their first time at Village Day.
Jessie Whalen, a West Newton resident and owner of Sew Magic Boutique, was selling goods at the event for the first time, including handmade baby clothes and accessories.
“It’s a great day to get out and see people — it feels normal,” she said.
For other vendors, Village Day was the first chance to show their work publicly.
Dmitry Hunt, a Holliston resident and local artist, said he started painting during the pandemic and hopes to build his business, Dmitry Hunt Original Art.
“It helped a lot with my mental health,” Hunt said. “I learned a lot from Bob Ross on YouTube.”
The event, which the Newtonville Area Council sponsored, also featured a cake cutting ceremony with Mayor Ruthanne Fuller and individually wrapped cupcakes for safety. Harrington and Dana D’Agostino, co-coordinator of the event, said they also provided free masks and hand sanitizer throughout the day.
“Several people came up to me and thanked me for all the organizations and all our work, which I’m very appreciative of,” Harrington said.
Blair Sullivan, executive director of Newton Community Pride and a vendor at Village Day, said the event was a great way for the town to gather safely again.
“This is a really nice opportunity to spread the word about what we do and learn about other businesses in Newton as well,” Sullivan said.
Harrington said the most important part of the event was bringing Newtonville together after a rough year.
“That’s what it’s all about — just bringing the community together and having a fun, family day,” she said.
Isabelle Durso can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.