Greater Springfield Partnership aims to connect residents to local vendors, businesses with new event

The Greater Springfield Partnership is aiming to showcase local vendors and businesses to the community though a new outdoor event called CommonsFest that will be held this summer.

CommonsFest will feature a number of exhibitors and market vendors that operate in the community and it will be a combination of two previously held annual events known as the Business EXPO and MarketFest.

The new event will take place at National Road Commons park in downtown Springfield and will be held on Friday, Aug. 6. It will last from 3 to 7 p.m. and exhibitors taking part are encouraged to run games, raffles and drawings during that time.

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The idea is to combine two events that have traditionally been put on by the partnership. The difference is that CommonsFest will be held at an outdoor setting with the hope of generating a larger turnout.

This comes as neither the Business EXPO nor MarketFest were held last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, said Camaren Sloan, the events manager for the partnership formally known as the Chamber of Greater Springfield.

Sloan said that traditionally the expo and the MarketFest have served a similar purpose. The goal being to promote local businesses and vendors by encouraging members of the community to interact with them as well as learn more about local offerings.

MarketFest traditionally was held in the evening and featured vendors as well as live entertainment. The idea was to bring people to the downtown area and serve as more of a community event.

The Business EXPO traditionally served as a way to showcase local small businesses, highlighting a number of different industries.

Sloan said that the partnership decided to combine both events due to recent successes of outdoor gatherings.

She said that given the cancellations last year due to the pandemic, the partnership wanted to have a sort of restart especially as it was previously uncertain if those events would come back this year.

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Coronavirus restrictions in the state were lifted this month as rules related to masks, capacity limits, and social distancing expired on June 2 and were not renewed. Vaccinations related to the coronavirus have been rolled out.

“In a lot of ways it is getting to experience what Springfield has to offer,” Sloan said of CommonsFest. She added that the event will see vendors selling products that are locally made as well as businesses showcasing services as well as providing information about their operations.

Sloan said that partnership wanted to host something that was wide open and gave people the opportunity to spread out.

CommonsFest will also coincide with First Friday, a weekend event that offers live music, food and drink specials and merchant specials from participating businesses in the downtown.

The event will also feature local food trucks as well as free entertainment. Sloan said she is expecting a large turnout and noted that previous events have seen several thousand people come through.

Exhibitors wishing to set up a booth at the event are asked to contact Sloan at csloan@greaterspringfield.com.


How to go

What: CommonsFest

When: 3 to 7 p.m., Friday, Aug. 6

Where: National Road Commons park, downtown Springfield

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