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The Cromwell Downtown Merchants Association brought the Historic District on Main Street alive with the sights and sounds of the first annual Memorial Day Car Show held in conjunction with the town’s Memorial Day Parade, on a sultry Thursday, May 30th. Hundreds of people came to check out the local businesses, hot rods, muscle cars and classic cars and to thank and pay homage to the veterans who have served our country.
“We want to bring people in so they can see what we’re about and to support our small businesses. How often do you go into a store and someone greets you with a smile and wants to help you out? Where can you get a home-cooked meal? You can find all that here, and more, in our restaurants and shops. There’s just a different feeling here. We treat you like family,” said Cindy Lynn, owner of Big Deals Ladies Plus Size Consignment and a member of the Downtown Merchants Association. “We believe in our town. We believe in this area. There’s a wonderful camaraderie of people here,” Lynn said.
“The town of Cromwell, working with the businesses in the historic section of Main Street, set up a group called the Cromwell Downtown Merchants Association, last September. We had over 300 people, including some of the cutest kids I’ve ever seen in costumes, come out for our first event, Halloween on Main Street. We also had a large crowd for Christmas on Main Street – people had a lot of fun at both events,” said Stuart Popper, Town Planner.
Sponsors of the Memorial Car Show, which saw more than 80 vehicles jam the parking lots of Glen Johnson Realty, Spada’s Restaurant, Cromwell Energy and William Stamm & Son Construction, included: Big Deals Ladies Plus Size Consignment, Cromwell Automotive, Tea Roses Tea Room, New Image Hair Designs, American Eagle Federal Credit Union, Brothers Auto Body, Universal Ceramic Tile Distributors, Inc., Willowbrook Spirit Shoppe, James M. Neeland & Kenneth C. Merrifield, The Hartford Courant and Cromwell First Selectman Mertie Terry.
Cromwell Automotive owner Rodney Bitgood called Mertie Terry and Stuart Popper the driving forces behind the group. “Mertie helped round us up and got us all together last fall. She pushes us and keeps us going. The car show was Mertie’s idea, as well. Whatever Mertie asks me to do, I do. And we appreciate how vital Stuart has been to the efforts of the Downtown Merchants Association.”
Proceeds from the car show will benefit Jensen’s Fund, a local non-profit which has raised more than $60,000.00 over the last nine years. “My son, Jensen Charles Lynn, was a normal, healthy six-and-a-half-year old child when he suffered a brain aneurysm on May 8, 2003,” Cindy Lynn said. “He’s brought life to four people as an organ donor, including two Connecticut residents who each received a kidney. They were on dialysis exactly as long as Jensen was on this earth. Four people have had a decade of health because of him.
“We chose to celebrate Jensen and began the non-profit, Jensen’s Fund. We’ve raised enough money to begin building Sir Jensen’s Court, a handicapped accessible playground at Pierson Park. We have more equipment to be put in, so it’s an ongoing project. I collect giggles and smiles from the joy the playground brings,” said Lynn.
“We wanted to draw people downtown so they experience our businesses and visit Old Main, so it was great to see so many people having a great time at the car show and parade,” Popper added. “I want to thank Rodney Bitgood, Cindy Lynn, Glen Johnson, Mark Chadsey, our sponsors, the downtown businesses, our volunteers and the businesses that donated raffle prizes. Next year the parade and car show will be on a Friday, so we’re looking forward to an even bigger turnout.”