Businesses benefit from Summerfest crowds

NEW BEDFORD — As folk singer Melissa Ferrick gave one of the last performances of this year’s Summer Fest Sunday at the Custom House Stage, Amanda Alexis was working what has been one of the best weekends ever for Moby Dick Retail, which she manages.
“We look forward to Summerfest all year long,” she said. “It’s always our biggest weekend — even better than Christmas.”
Alexis said the store’s hot item of the weekend was nautical jewelry, and that this weekend’s festival has brought in more business than last year.
At the Arthur Moniz Gallery, Cheryl Moniz said she thought the weekend’s warm weather had encouraged larger crowds than usual— something that’s always good for business.
“The heat has kept the number of people out there down a bit, but they come in and look around to get out of the heat,” she said.
Summerfest organizers said Sunday afternoon they did not have an official count for how many tickets were sold to the weekend’s 53 performances, held on seven stages throughout the city’s historic district. Despite large crowds, there were no issues with the audience, who were all looking to have a good time.
At Crowells Fine Art Gallery and Framing Studio on Acushnet Avenue, Janice McDonough said the gallery had sold some paintings to Summerfest-goers, but that she hadn’t seen an uptick in the framing business because “that’s something people usually have to think about first.”
But, she said the foot traffic from Summerfest had still been helpful for her business.
“I had at least five people come in here and say ‘Oh I didn’t know you were here,'” she said. “That’s great advertising for us so people know for next time.”
Mik and Linda Barbadoro were two of roughly 90 artisans who set up tents throughout the historic district to sell crafts. Mik Barbadoro said this was the couple’s first year at Summerfest, and he and his wife were “thoroughly enjoying it.”
“I did hear that the crowd isn’t as big as it normally is, but that could be because July Fourth fell in the middle of the week,” he said.
Barbadoro said he and his wife had sold many of their hand-painted bamboo walking sticks, which come equipped with a floating compass and can be played as flutes in the key of G major.
“They are meant to be used hiking, and this is very much a hiker crowd,” he said.
July 09, 2012 12:00 AM
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