BRANFORD — On a recent afternoon at Nuzzo’s Farm, roosters strutted and donkeys brayed amid the sweet smell of grass in the idyllic enclave off Route 1.
Little did any of them know that on Saturday, July 6, the Reborn House Square, the one-stop-shopping outdoor market, will be pulling out all the stops with a sterling lineup of hand-selected artisans, artists, and tradespeople, as well as home goods and furniture retailers, from across the state and beyond.
There will also be live demonstrations by cane weavers, glass blowers, woodworkers, and potters; live music and food trucks; and kids’ activities, including face painting, an exhibition by Curious Creatures, and a petting area.
This is the third outdoor market, which is being held on the first Saturday of each month from May to October.
According to organizers Rachel Kalman and Vanessa Fleming Redd, it was last year’s Oct. 31 Light the Night event on the Branford town green, sponsored by the Shoreline Community Church in Branford, that inspired the “community-minded” outdoor market.
With representatives of local businesses on Main Street and area restaurants serving up cocoa, hotdogs and chili, “the turnout was beyond our expectations,” said Kalman, noting that many came in costume.
Kalman and Redd run Reborn House, a Branford business offering furniture restoration, upholstery and reupholstery, and design services. Their work often requires the expertise of a team of master craftsmen and artisans. Increasingly, they noticed, those artisans were being priced out of the spaces they used to set up shop. That’s when the idea of Reborn House Square was born.
“It would be a non-virtual, one-stop shopping outdoor market with pop-up shops for the region’s finest artisans, craftspeople, and tradesmen to showcase and market their work while helping them make connections with other artists and customers,” Redd said.
The two lobbied town officials, who connected them with Tony and Audra Nuzzo of Nuzzo’s Farm.
“It was a no brainer,” Audra Nuzzo said. “We felt that it would be a way to bring the community together in a positive way.”
Now almost halfway through their outdoor market events of the season, their aims are yet higher.
“We want this market to support a healthy and community fun atmosphere that will promote a positive and dynamic change in the world,” Kalman said. To that end, “we’re working on drawing in vendors with vintage and Persian rugs, African Kuba cloth and textiles, and unique handmade jewelry.”
There are local aspirations as well.
“We’re in constant conversations with local farms to set up a farmers market as well,” she said. “And we’re envisioning a stage set up for the Branford dance teams and school choirs in between the live music.”
Their dream, according to Redd, is to turn Reborn House Square into a nonprofit organization that will support other nonprofits, including Teen Challenge, the Seedlings Foundation, and the Tim Tebow Night to Shine Ministry.