NEWINGTON - This Saturday there will be no shortage of fun happening around town.
The annual Newington Waterfall Festival kicks off at 10 a.m. and will wrap up around 4 p.m. Then, visitors can stay downtown for the Newington Volunteer Fire Department’s 100th Anniversary Parade at 4:30 p.m. on Main Street.
The Waterfall Festival Committee decided to collaborate with the NVFD this year to make the day an extra special one for local volunteers as they celebrate a century of service.
“It’s a good way to celebrate their 100th year with them,” Festival Chairwoman Theresa Reynolds explained. “I think there’s going to be more people than ever downtown because they expect over 300 fire families from all over Connecticut.”
Proceeds from the festival traditionally benefit a local community group, so the committee elected the NVFD as an ideal 2017 beneficiary. Firefighters are excited about the community’s show of gratitude.
“It’s wonderful they chose the fire department,” Parade Chairman Captain Jack Nesklada said. “I’m sure the command staff will put the money to good use.”
Around 50 fire units will march in the parade along with local firefighters. They include Newington’s sister fire department, Massapequa in Long Island. The two groups have had a relationship since the 1940s. The Holland, Mass., Fire Department will also be in attendance, since its chief is a former Newington firefighter.
Fellow fire task force member-departments from Berlin, Kensington, Wethersfield, Cromwell and Rocky Hill that provide regular support to Newington will be celebrating on this occasion as well.
“We work quite closely with our task force towns,” Nesklada said. “We have a longstanding agreement if one of us makes a call for help we come and help. They will all be participating.”
The CT Parade Marshals Association will judge and award parade units.
The Waterfall Festival’s claim to fame is the popular Chalk Walk competition, now in its 14th year. Artists of all ages will express themselves on blocks of pavement. Sign-ups begin as early as 7 a.m. since some works take all day to complete. All creating will come to a halt at 2 p.m., after which a panel of judges from the Newington Art League will evaluate the artworks. Prizes include gift cards to Jerry’s Artarama.
There are three competition categories: Adult (ages 15-plus), $20 for a 6- by 6-foot square of pavement; Juniors (ages 11-14), $10 for a 4- by 4-foot square; and Children (ages 8–10), $5 for a 3- by 3-foot square. Each contender will receive a set of chalk pastels and a square to kneel on while they work. Lunch will be provided by Subway Restaurant for $5.
Over 50 vendors are expected to participate in the festival, from the town’s political committees and church congregations to businesses and charity groups.
Performers will entertain crowds all day long, beginning with singer-songwriter Angelica Marie at 10 a.m. Chalk Walk winners will be announced at 3:30 p.m., before the parade steps off an hour later.
The procession will follow the same route as the town’s Memorial Day Parade, dispersing at Newington Town Hall. Celebratory activities in Mill Pond Park will follow from 5 to 10 p.m.
The first-ever NVFD Jr. Firefighter Challenge is open to all future firefighting-hopefuls. Kids will complete an obstacle course while getting a taste of everyday firefighting duties from carrying a hose to saving a cat from a tree. Youths of all ages and fitness abilities are welcome to register, at Nvfdjrfirefighter.eventbrite.com.
Adult fun will feature food vendors, a beer and wine garden, cornhole tournament and live entertainment.
This is a chance for the community to celebrate and thank the NVFD.
“We’ve had a lot of positive feedback and interest from the public,” Nesklada said.
The weekend marks their largest celebration in one hundred years.
Erica Schmitt can be reached at 860-801-5097, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go:
WHAT: The Newington Waterfall Festival and NVFD 100th Anniversary Parade
WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 23, festival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., parade steps off at 4:30
WHERE: Downtown Newington
HOW: Admission is free
10 a.m. Angelica Marie
11 a.m. Sweetest Key
12 p.m. Backstage Academy Dance Center
12:45 p.m. Zumba
1 p.m. Taekwondo
2 p.m. Asian dance team
3:30 p.m. Comstock Stallion