After nearly a year and a half, the largest Lodi Chamber of Commerce event in the city is returning to downtown next month.
The Lodi Street Faire will return to School and Church streets on Oct. 3, attracting hundreds of visitors and vendors from all over California.
“We are excited to bring it back,” Chamber president and CEO Pat Patrick said. “We’ve been hearing nothing but ‘great, it’s coming back’ from people, and we get phone calls every day from people who either want to know if it’s returning, or from vendors who are interested in renting a space.”
Patrick said the faire will most likely be smaller than usual, as many merchants who have participated in previous years have left the craft and antique business.
More than 500 vendors typically line both School and Church streets, and Patrick said that as of Thursday, roughly 380 have either shown interest in renting space or have confirmed their spots. He said there should be about 400 by the time Oct. 3 arrives.
“They’re small businesses,” Patrick said of the vendors. “A lot, or maybe most of them, operate out of their garages. When they lost revenue for a year because there were no events during (the pandemic), they either told their spouses it was time to quit, or they made a decision to do something else.”
Patrick noted the Downtown Farmers Market experienced a similar reduction in size for much of the same reasons. However, the vibe of being out and about and feeling positive remained.
He said the same vibe will be present at the street faire.
The street faire last filled the 14 square blocks of Downtown Lodi in October of 2019. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic the following March forced the cancellation of both 2020 faires, as well as the event scheduled for last May.
As with prior faires, merchants selling used or antique goods will line both sides of School Street from Lodi Avenue to Elm Street, and vendors offering new items and homemade crafts will line both sides of Church Street.
“We may spread the vendors out a bit, depending on how things shake out,” Patrick said. “Just like the farmers market, there will probably be fewer people coming, because they are still a bit hesitant to be around large groups. But on the other hand there are people feeling more comfortable these days because they are vaccinated or they have their masks with them. And if you want to wear your masks, you can. We’ll do everything we can to make it as safe and comfortable for everyone.”
There will be plenty of food vendors as well, Patrick said, including Lockeford Sausage, which is always one of the more popular fares during the event.
Food vendors will also be wearing the proper personal protective equipment, including masks and gloves, while handling dishes, Patrick said.
The faire will begin at 8 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. Vendor booth, temporary food permit, and seller verification form applications can be found online at www.lodichamber.com/lodi-street-faire.
A sample certificate of liability insurance can also be found on the website.
Because a food vendor application is not available online, vendors are asked to email information to Erin Castelanelli at email@example.com to be considered.
Print applications and seller information, then email firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to 35 S. School St., Lodi, Calif., 95240.