NEWTON, NJ - The crisp autumn air on Spring Street was full of voices and laughter on Thursday, November 8, as patrons enjoyed "Night Out In Newton."

The New Spring Street Merchants Group came up with the idea, according to Sara Megletti of the PB&J Stores. Each of the 21 participating merchants signed the patrons' “passports,”  which was then entered into a drawing for $500 in overnight stays, entertainment, dining, and spa services.

Many of the merchants had a theme relating to a country, such as The Seven Acre Baker which, had a German Christmas theme and Andre’s Restaurant, which served Swedish “pleta,” little Swedish pancakes with lingonberry syrup. Feels Like Home evolved into the British Isles, complete with tea, and owner Bill Longcor wearing a bowler hat.

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Other participants were Perfect 10 Nail & Hair Boutique, The Plaza Restaurant, the Sussex County Arts & Heritage Council, What in the World, JoSa Naturally, Sensible Additions, Carte Blanche, Scissor Joint, Charm, Diva Designs, Trinity Restaurant & Lounge, Craft Creators, Inner Designs by Robin Lennon,TraillWorks, Maxwell and Molly’s Closet, CJ’s Barbershop, and Yarn Boutique by Sarah.

Families were taking advantage of the festivities, which included the Grand Re-Opening of Charm, which just moved to its third location in six years, according to owner Kristen Stoll. The celebration included music provided by Mike Lawlor and Pete Lester and champagne as well as refreshments.

Stoll said she has doubled the size of her shop with every move. The Lafayette resident claims “I like what I do,” which includes hand painting furniture, stamping silver, and sewing pillows. She also praised her employees, especially college student Auriela Selima.

Robin Lennon of Inner Designs has one of the more unusual shops. She produces a wholesale handbag line and also designs and makes mother-of-the-bride dresses, jackets, coats, and bags. She is also an interior designer, and author.

In Feels Like Home, Stacy Longcor was showing off Bauman’s Fruit Butter, and Harney & Sons Tea to a large group of customers.

Chip and Elisa Schaffer at The Seven Acre Baker were offering samples of various treats, along with assistant baker Lauretta Neumayer and the shop was bustling.

Also bustling was PB&J Stores.

Cheryl Williver was selling prints of her photographs, and Khusbu was selling her scarves with the proceeds going to hurricane relief.

Williver said she had a great year before the bad weather came. “The foliage was great this year and I did a lot of family photos before the weather went crazy.”

She also does fashion and real estate photography.

Megletti was excited about the event because, “we had nearly 100 percent participation.”

She called Newton, “the Downtown of Sussex County,” an inviting business district for the entire county.

The Springboard Shoppes also participated.

Donna Kingsbury of Enchanted Chocolate was offering samples at the door of Springboard, Inside, Al Koapka at What in the World was selling his fair trade items, and the women at the sock shop, and at Sensible Addictions were busy as well.

Jonathan Andrews was behind the register at Carte Blanche. He explained the Springboard Shoppes were the idea of the first Main Street Newton Director, Carola Hartley. He renovated the building, that was originally a Woolworth's, and was the very popular Abigail's, for 15 years and brought in a number of shops for an opportunity to start up.

"I had five stores that came in and moved on, two others that decided not to continue,” he said. “I have four now.”

When some of his shops moved out, he started Carte Blanche in part of the building. There he gives people a chance to sell in small spaces. Some, like Kingsbury, rent shelf space, others do so on commission. He has artists and artisans who would otherwise not have a place.

Phyllis Flanagan from Flowers in the Attic, was open on Thursday, but was not one of the merchants in the passport program. However, she said she predicted the merchants will do more special events on a regular basis. “I hear more and more that people want to shop local.”

In addition, the Newton Winter Farmers’ Market will be in the building for three hours each Saturday.