NEW BRITAIN - Just in time for fair season, the cityâ€™s annual Main Street USA celebration is less than two weeks away.
Main Street USA returned two years ago after a long hiatus. The 2017 celebration will be from noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9, at Walnut Hill Park.
â€śWhen we brought the festival back in 2015, after a 15-year hiatus, our Parks and Recreation Department made a commitment to making the event bigger and better each year,â€ť Mayor Erin Stewart said. â€śWe hope to have it back downtown someday, but that wonâ€™t happen until all of our streetscape work is completed,â€ť
Eric Barbieri, director of the Parks and Recreation Department, said he likes that the event coincides with similar attractions in the region.
â€śA great New England tradition is fall fairs and festivals. I think itâ€™s just part of living in New England,â€ť Barbieri said. â€śThereâ€™s all kinds of them throughout the state, but we think ours is the best.â€ť
Many family-favorite activities are planned, including helicopter rides and live entertainment, along with new rides, including a 45-foot Ferris wheel.
Foods available will include fried dough, pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers, sausage and peppers and loaded baked potatoes.
At least 12 vendors and community organizations will have booths displaying their products or services.
Helicopter rides costing $20 per person and last at least five minutes also will be available.
The eventâ€™s main stage, at the Darius Miller Memorial Band Shell, will host several musical acts throughout the day. The schedule will feature the soul/R&B group Shaded Soul at 4 p.m.; the sounds of classic rock with Last Licks at 6 p.m.; and The Zoo, a Top 40 cover band, at 8 p.m.
For the younger audience, the Kids Zone returns from noon to 7 p.m., featuring rides, amusement park activities, face painting and other forms of childrenâ€™s entertainment. The Kids Zone has its own stage that will feature entertainment with a more of a family-friendly focus.
Wristbands in the Kids Zone will be sold for $10 each or $30 for a family four-pack. The wristbands allow kids unlimited use of the inflatable moon bounces and corn maze, a 24-foot climbing wall, the Ferris wheel, a 100-foot slide and more.
â€śWhatâ€™s unique about this event is thereâ€™s no entrance fee. Every other fair you have to pay to get in, then you also have to pay for food and amusements,â€ť said Stephanie Scalise, administrative services coordinator for the Parks and Recreation Department. â€śHere, if you want to just come and listen to the bands, you donâ€™t have to pay for anything. But if you want amusements and food, itâ€™s pretty inexpensive.â€ť
The all-day event will close with a fireworks show at 8:45 p.m.
â€śMain Street USA has been a beloved New Britain event for decades. Itâ€™s a fun-filled day for the family full of good food, music, entertainment and most importantly, community,â€ť Stewart said. â€śItâ€™s an opportunity to celebrate the rich diversity and heritage of our city and a chance to show visitors all that we have to offer.â€ť
Vendors are still needed. Anyone interested should contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 860-826-3360.
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.