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We found ten great reasons to visit SoNo Marketplace this summer

This European-style market on Wilson Avenue in Norwalk is hitting its stride with a lineup of events and attractions that make it not only a destination for farm-fresh foods and boutique shopping (from 50 artisans and food purveyors) but also a hot spot for dining and entertainment. 

1. Dinner Parties to Go 
It’s summer and the entertaining will be easy thanks to the market’s ample ready-made options. For quick appetizers, stop by Festivities Eatery’s party pantry stocked with dips, spreads and other homemade goodies. (Try the tomato jam over goat cheese from Plum Plums Cheese Company). Main courses? You could grab ribs or lamb for grilling from Percy Thomson Meadows. Seafood lovers should try Bloom Brothers’ chowder and lobster sliders. For a grand finale, treat friends to an Italian fruit tart from Maura & Nuccia.

2. Did Someone Say Beer Garden?
Yes, we did! With dozens of café tables set next to a fountain and local craft brews on tap, this new beer garden is a prime spot for relaxing after work (open Thursday to Sunday until 10 p.m.). IPAs from Two Roads Brewing in Stratford will be among the dozen drafts, or you can order a bucket of chilled bottles. Cool cocktails are also in the mix, such as Summer Solstice, a lime-infused vodka granita, and a pineapple-basil margarita.

3. Classic Movie Nights
Take in Bogart, Katherine Hepburn and other Hollywood icons on the big screen during outdoor movie nights planned by market founder Joe Grasso, who’s a fan of black-and-white films. 

4. Live Music
That outdoor bar crowd will be lingering after dark with upcoming acts such as Artie Tobia, known for his soulful sound, and rockers Tangled Vine. Both of the bands are past Best of the Gold Coast winners.

5. Farmers’ Market
The Farmer’s Market is open every Friday and Saturday, 11 to 3, with stalls of just-picked fruits and veggies from Lyman Orchard, Pell Farm, Cecarelli Farm and many other top Connecticut growers. For a pre-market treat, sip a cappuccino from Flat White and savor a blueberry scone from Green Leaf Organic Bakery indoors before scooping up your fresh weekly produce outside. 

6. That’s Italian
For the freshest pasta this side of Arthur Ave. go to Pasta Presta, where there are freshly made egg, spinach and whole grain pastas cut to order—pappardelle, linguini, casarecce and more—as well as specialty raviolis. Each batch starts with organic Pete & Gerry’s eggs and top- quality flours. This artisanal pasta biz was founded by Meri and Bill Erickson of New Canaan and inspired by their time living in Europe. In addtion to pastas, you can pick up tasty sauces and pestos here, too.  

7. One-Stop Seafood Shopping
Where else can you find fresh seafood from suppliers such as MoMo Sushi, Gotta Nibble Fish & Chips, Tilden Seafood and Bloom Brothers Oysters & Clams under one roof?

8. Smart Cooks
At Chop ‘n Shop classes you can hone your cooking skills while sampling libations; think pasta-making courses coupled with wine tasting, or mastering sushi prep while sipping sake. Other educational opportunities include drawing lessons for kids ages 8 to 16, taught by artist Annalisa Schaefer. 

9. Etsy Comes to Life
There are no garden-variety gifts at SoNo Marketplace, but there are handmade, antique and one-of-a-kind finds. We’re partial to vintage tablecloths at T Party Antiques and the Lovie Clutch from tag.n.bundle. Here, the creative ideas seem endless.

10. Sweet Something
A visit isn’t complete without a taste of Pecan Patti’s traditional Southern candies such as turtles, clusters, pralines and caramels.

SoNo Marketplace

314 Wilson Ave., Norwalk; sonomarketplace.com