Seaford Chamber of Commerce holds first 1st Saturday

By Lynn R. Parks

Every weekend, Tom Dayball travels from his home in Pasadena, Md., to Seaford, to visit his girlfriend, Charlene Petrie. And nearly every weekend, they end up driving to neighboring towns in search of something to do.

"We really want to spend our money here in town," Dayball said. "But we always find ourselves leaving Seaford. We love it here. We love the people here. We just wish that there was more to do."

Things were different this weekend. Dayball and Petrie, along with Petrie's sister and brother-in-law, Donna and David Sattelberg, Seaford, attended the inaugural First Saturday in Seaford, held downtown and sponsored by the Greater Seaford Chamber of Commerce. Shortly after noon, they were gathered around a small table, enjoying food and beer and listening to the band Charlie and the Arthritics.

Even though it was raining  their table was one of several that were under tents that were set up for the event  they wouldn't have missed it, Petrie said.

"We are trying to do local stuff," she added. "We were so excited to be able to say, 'Let's go down to High Street and spend a few hours.'"

Steve Halter was also happy to be at First Saturday. In the company of his two sons, Zach, 29, and Tom, 23, he was drinking a pumpkin ale from 3rd Wave Brewing Company in Delmar.

"This is a great idea," Halter, of Seaford, said. "With the food and drink and entertainment, it reminds me of farmers markets that are around in the summer."

The first First Saturday in Seaford was set for Oct. 3, but was cancelled the day before as a storm approached the area. With the forecast for showers for Saturday, the chamber announced on Tuesday that the event would be moved from the open lot behind City Hall to the lot where Burton Bros. Hardware used to be. Vendors were able to set up in a warehouse at the back edge of the lot.

Lynn Brocato, director of the chamber, said on Monday that the event went "reasonably well, considering the weather." Things shut down at 4 p.m., an hour early, but even with that, "I was pleased to see the turnout that we had."

Addressing concerns that serving wine and beer at a public festival would create problems, Brocato said that everything ran smoothly. "There were no disorderly people here," she said. "Everyone behaved."

Mayor David Genshaw was among people who attended First Saturday.

He said that he hopes that a successful event, with no problems, will convince people that there is nothing to be concerned about. "I hope that the people who were against having this realize that the people here aren't going to cause trouble," he said.

Genshaw also echoed Dayball's comments that First Saturday gives residents of Seaford something to do. "I've talked to several people here and they all say that they go to Salisbury, or Berlin, Md., or Easton, to attend events like this and are happy to have this in their own town," he said.

Several of the vendors who set up tables in the warehouse said that they hope to be at First Saturdays on a regular basis. Rachel Benjamin, who owns Sweet Serenity Chocolates with her husband, Chris, was there with a table full of treats.

"We just want to be a part of First Saturday and support the Seaford community," she said. "Events like this bring the community together and support small businesses."

Benjamin also said that First Saturday provides "safe activities for children." In a small room of the warehouse, her three sons, Seth Benjamin, 6, Cardin Benjamin, 8, and Gabe Hoffman, 14, worked on a painting under the direction of artist Tammy Kearney, a volunteer with the Nanticoke River Arts Council.

Vendors also included Crystal Stanley, owner of Bottoms Up Craft Designs, Delmar, Md. Stanley, who decorates used bottles for home d├ęcor items, said that this was her first craft show.

"If things go well, I will be back," she said.

Aimee Massey, Seaford, also had a table set up, where she was selling hand-knit scarves.

"It never hurts to do something to get people downtown," she said. "And this is a way for us to get more familiar with our community."

Laura Leach, who makes fine jewelry at her home near Seaford, was selling her art at First Saturday. "I like to support Seaford," she said. "This is a great idea. I've already signed up for the December event."

Genshaw too is looking forward to more First Saturdays. "It is my greatest hope that people see this event and think, 'I'd like to have my business in Seaford,'" he said. "That's what I'm hoping comes from this."

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