By Stephen Press
Hometown Weekly Staff
Walking up Dedham Street towards Great Plain Avenue, a full trolley rumbles by. A breeze carries the unmistakable, tantalizing waft of carnival food – smells of popcorn, hot dogs and cotton candy seduce the senses. The American flag flaps over Needham Common, and there is nary a cloud in the sky. The town green is filled to the brim with vendors, activities and happy Needhamites of all shapes and sizes.
This is the Needham Business Association (NBA) Street Fair, and it couldn’t have come on a more picturesque day.
“The Needham Business Association would like to thank all of our members and all the Needham community that came down today to have fun with their families and to support our local businesses,” says NBA administrator Lisa Relich as she proudly looks over the Common. It certainly is a feast for the eyes.
For this one day, the Common is transformed into a carnival. There are trucks, pony rides, a bouncy house and kids zone for the young ones. Inside stately Powers Hall, the Spring Arts Festival is alive and kicking with artisans presenting their unique crafts. A food court and trolley rides await visitors who could use a quick breather before getting back to the fun. Then there are the stars of the show: the vendors – 94 of them, to be exact – whose booths line the paths and walkways of the green.
“We’re delighted with the turnout today,” smiles Louise Condon, owner of Louise Condon Realty, as she sits at her booth on Highland Avenue. “The weather has been beautiful, and there are many thousands of people here. I love to see the crowd of Needham get together.”
“It brings the community together,” adds Maureen Fromme, a NBA board member. “It’s something all of the families and residents look forward to every year – to see their neighbors and friends, and get to see all the updates that are happening with the various vendors and participants.”
State Rep. Denise Garlick, who herself has a booth at the heart of the Common, is delighted to see the town out in full force. “The spirit of this day is what hometown is all about,” she says. “When I look around, what I see is community.”
“I think one of the great things about the community is that it’s really connected by doing things together. We have a whole variety of community groups who all turn out to be able to make this possible,” says Paul Good, an NBA board member. He pauses for a second to finish his thought as a whirlwind of excitable children passes. “It creates an atmosphere that’s really uniquely Needham.”
The NBA’s Harvest Fair, the autumn incarnation of the Street Fair, is scheduled for October 1, and promises to be every bit as exciting as its springtime counterpart.