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Downtown: Market Days storm sparks new fundraisers

After a windstorm swept through Market Days last month and left a mess of damaged tents, Katy Brown Solsky saw an opportunity. She’s making tote bags out of the damaged tents and selling them to purchase new tents for vendors from the Concord Arts Market.

All of the arts market vendors who were set up on North Main Street during Market Days lost their tents – and some of their artwork – when a powerful wind and thunderstorm descended on Concord in the early morning hours of July 20.

Since the festival, some vendors have been sharing tents or not attending outdoor markets.

“People selling things that they make by hand are not having a huge profit margin, so it’s a bigger expense in relation to what they’re taking in,” Solsky said.

So far, she’s received a generous response. By Friday afternoon, donors had given more than $1,500 to the “Artmageddon 2013 Tent Fund” on the fundraising website Indigogo. For $20, donors can get one tote bag, sewn by hand from salvaged tent tops.

Solsky hopes to raise $2,400 by the end of the week. That money will be distributed among all the vendors to cover

the cost of replacing their tents.

“A lot of people thought that it was a fun idea to literally take part of the destroyed tents and make something out of it,” she said.

Artists weren’t the only vendors hit by the Market Days storm.

“I would say that there was tremendous damage,” said festival Director Kim Murdoch. “Easily the majority of vendors sustained damage to their tents, if not complete destruction.”

Volunteers worked through the night to clean up, and the storm didn’t interrupt Market Days programming. But some vendors are still suffering from the financial impact.

Allison Grappone, Nearby Registry’s founder and CEO, has dedicated a portion of her website to helping them. Her website promotes gift registries on online wishlists for local businesses.

“We signed on new stores for free who wanted to participate,” Grappone said. “And then we added up to four products for each of those stores or nonprofits.”

Participating Market Days vendors include The Crust and Crumb, Gondwana & Divine Clothing Co., the Capitol Center for the Arts, Caring Gifts and Evolution Rock and Fitness.

Sales made through Nearby Registry’s website are “a direct sale” to the business, Grappone said.

To buy from vendors on Nearby Registry’s site, visit

Donations for art market totes can be made at

NEC on Main Street

New England College will open a small campus on Main Street this fall.

Beginning in September, the Henniker-based college will offer three master’s degree programs at its office in Concord: mental health counseling, business administration and public policy.

“All three of those programs will be offered in flexible and convenient hybrid formats so that people can meet in Concord but then also pursue much of the degree online,” said Mark Watman, the college’s vice president for academic affairs.

The 62 N. Main St. storefront, formerly home to Cool Moose Creamery and Just Be Boutique, is undergoing renovations.

Watman said the center will also host undergraduate programs and career services, and was chosen in part for its proximity to the State House.

“The location has a larger space on the first floor. . . . We’re really focused on providing opportunities for political debates, (the) potential to have art (and) poetry readings, as well as to provide some community services,” he said.

Professor Larry Taylor will serve as director of the college’s Concord center.

“The Concord initiative really stems from our strategic plan, which has us offering educational opportunities in more flexible formats and more convenient locations for all student populations,” Watman said.

‘Pitch in’ for the Audi

The Concord City Auditorium is preparing for its 109th season, and the Friends of the Audi are looking for some help.

Their annual “Pitch In” volunteer event will be held next week, from Aug. 19 to 21.

The work includes cleaning “windows and orchestra seats and dressing rooms and stage floors,” the group said in a press release. “We sew curtains, polish chandeliers, and send event calendars to thousands of area households.”

Volunteers can come from 9 a.m. to noon or from 6 to 9 p.m., Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. Each session will begin with a light meal from Panera.

More Market Days

Intown Concord is asking for feedback about this year’s Market Days Festival.

“We want to hear what you think and work to continuously improve what is an incredibly strong community event,” said Murdoch, the festival director.

A survey is available online at

(Laura McCrystal can be reached at 369-3312 or or on Twitter @lmccrystal.)

Legacy Comments2

Hey, when life hands you lemons make lemonade.

July 20th was that Saturday morning. I was there Thursday night I think it was when the downpour occurred, of standing under the tent on the customer side. But that some vendors needed so much space that they took up to the very edge. So if they were talking with a potential customer that customer would have to skedaddle so as not to get drenched.

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