At first glance, this photo looks unremarkable.
Fred Cantor took it in 1977, he thinks — during the Great Race. That was the fun, funny and often alcohol-infused event in which people dressed in costumes, created their own vessels, ran from Taylor Place to the river, jumped in their watercraft, raced out to Cockenoe Island, filled a bag with garbage (the cheaters already carried pre-packed trash), then rowed or sailed or whatever-ed back to shore.
Meanwhile, Main Street merchants held sales. This was the scene outside Remarkable Book Shop. The stalls were always outside, but on this day they attracted huge crowds.
The Great Race is (regrettably) long gone. But this weekend the Fine Arts Festival returns to Main Street. It’s a great show.
Unfortunately, few Remarkable-type stores anymore offer something else to all those art-lovers (though Savvy + Grace is worth a trip from anywhere).
Also this weekend, the Westport Library hosts its 26th annual Book Sale. Those squintillions of volumes make this Remarkable scene look, well, unremarkable. But whenever and wherever people buy books, it’s a good thing.
Finally, this Friday Flashback raises the question: Now that Remarkable Book Shop is gone — and Talbots too is a long-ago memory too — will anything ever take their place?