NEWINGTON - There is something to do in town nearly every day over the next few months, for those who know where to look.
The answer is Newington Parks and Recreation – the department’s newsletter, Facebook page and Mill Pond Park, where much of the fun is set to take place.
“We’ve got a plethora of entertainment this spring and summer,” said Director Bill DeMaio, who encourages people to check Facebook.com/Newingtonparksandrecreation for the latest updates and happenings.
It all begins on Thursday, May 17 at 4:30 p.m. with the third annual Motorcycle Madness in Mill Pond Park.
Over 500 motorcycles lined up for last year’s show, which raised $8,000 for the Newington Extravaganza Fireworks. The 2018 event will feature prizes for Mayor’s Choice, Sponsor’s Choice, Crazy Chrome, Terrific Tank and Perfect Paint. Spectators are free to attend, motorcycles are $5 each and show bikes pay $10.
A food truck festival will feature over 15 different trucks with a variety of offerings, along with a beer and wine tent. Vendors will be selling motorcycle gear, parts and more. Sponsors are Haymond Law, Geico of Newington, CT Cruise News, West Hill Automotive and Brookfield Indian Motorcycle. Proceeds go the fireworks.
“It has developed into just an unbelievable, spectacular event for all ages,” DeMaio said.
The event will also serve as the kick-off for the Edythe and Harry Mandell Summer Concert Series, with the Savage Brothers Band taking the pavilion stage at 6 p.m.
This marks the 25th season of the series, sponsored by Data-Mail, Inc. Concerts continue on Thursday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m. through the end of July. There will be 14 in total, all of which are free and open to the public. People are encouraged to bring a picnic dinner, blanket and chairs, although many of the concerts will feature food giveaways.
A “Free Wine, Bring Your own Cheese Party” is planned for July 19, for example. Coming up on May 31 at 5:30 p.m. before Dually Noted performs, there will be a dedication ceremony for a new dog fountain built by Dr. Ellen Leonard, who is also sponsoring free hot dogs, fountain drinks and ice cream.
While these Thursday concerts are going on there will be a crowd in the outfield, playing cornhole. The town’s adult cornhole league has grown to include 20 teams.
Department staff are hoping to have the park’s newest addition up and running by Thursday, to serve visitors to all of these activities. That’s the snack bar concession stand, which was renovated after a fire last summer.
“We’re bigger and better and we’re going to provide a whole new level of service and food,” DeMaio said.
An expanded menu will feature soft serve ice cream, chicken fingers, stuffed pretzels, nachos and more. Hours are Monday to Friday, noon to 5 p.m.; Wednesday and Thursday until 8 p.m.; and Sunday mornings for breakfast, 7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
On Saturday, May 19, there will be a Parks and Recreation Party at Chipotle Mexican Grill, 3575 Berlin Turnpike, from 4 to 8 p.m. Customers who say they are “with Newington Parks and Recreation” will have 50 percent of their bill donated to the Extravaganza Fireworks Fund. A group of parks staff from around the state will be there to support the cause, offering raffle prizes and more.
The Extravaganza itself is set for Saturday, July 21, with activities leading up to the festival all that week. Set to perform is Billy Joel tribute band River of Dreams. Billy Joel himself was also invited by DeMaio, who said it would be “unbelievable” if his favorite rock star showed up.
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at 860-801-5097 or firstname.lastname@example.org.