Whatever goes around, comes around.
And on Sunday, September 14, a couple of thousand folks will go around and around in Saugatuck.
That’s the date for Slice of Saugatuck. All afternoon long, for just $10 ($5 for kids 6-12), people will wander up Riverside Avenue, along Railroad Place, and out Saugatuck Avenue. Every restaurant offers food; others businesses hand out coupons, gifts or anything else they want. There is bands, street artists and a bouncy house. It’s the best street party since, well, Festival Italiano.
It’s the 3rd “Slice” in 4 years, and that’s what the “goes around, comes around” line is all about.
RTM representative Matthew Mandell created the festival back in 2011. After 2 wildly successful years, he handed it off to the Chamber of Commerce. But the director did not see the benefit — for either the Chamber or the merchants — and last year the Slice was iced.
Now the Chamber of Commerce has a new executive director: Mandell. One of his 1st moves was to serve up the Slice.
“It’s a quadruple win for the town,” Mandell explains.
“One, it brings people to Saugatuck, and promotes the merchants and the area.
“Two, it’s a fantastic community event. It’s great for people-watching, and it brings everyone together.”
“Three, it raises money for the homeless and hungry. The Homes With Hope Gillespie Food Pantry received $5,000 from the 2012 proceeds, and once again they’re our beneficiary.
“Four, we hire Homes with Hope residents to work at the festival.”
Mandell seems to have thought of everything. Including — 4 years ago — the perfect name.
“Saugatuck is shaped like a slice of pizza,” he says. (It is, if you consider its boundaries to be the train station at one end, and the intersection of Riverside and Saugatuck Avenues the other.)
For many years, of course, Saugatuck was a thriving Italian neighborhood. There are still restaurants like Tutti’s and Julian’s, and quasi-Italian spots like
Tarry Lodge and Rizzuto’s. Mario’s and Tarantino’s are long-time classics. Dunville’s, Mansion, Viva and the Duck are not Italian, but they’ve outlasted even some of the oldtimers.
Newcomers like The Whelk, Rainbow Thai and Saugatuck Sweets — plus merchants like Downunder — have brought new life to the old area. So there will be plenty more free food than pizza available at the Slice.
Though I’m betting those slices will go real fast.