Borough gearing up for downtown festival

NAUGATUCK — Borough planners are revving up for the town’s first Spring Festival next weekend.

The festival is May 20 from 2 to 10 p.m. on Church Street and Old Firehouse Road. It will feature three bands on two stages, an outdoor car show, children’s activities, local food and drinks and craft vendors.

Hosting more townwide events has been a focus for Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess, who started a fall festival last year and expanded the Christmas tree lighting into larger a street festival.

The spring festival will be the biggest yet, event coordinator Shelby Lineweber said.

“It’s really brought people together in a way that we haven’t come together in a really long time,” Lineweber said.

A lifelong Naugatuck resident of 26 years, Lineweber said she’s never seen anything like this in the borough. The response from the community from the past events has been amazing, she said.

“It’s going to keep going,” she said. “The mayor doesn’t have any plans to stop anytime soon.”

Eran Troy Danner, The Rockin’ Heartbeats and the Rubber City Blues Band are lined up to entertain the crowds, Lineweber said.

For the younger crowd, the municipal parking lot between Church Street and Old Firehouse Road will have plenty to offer, including an inflatable obstacle course, bounce house, carnival rides and the Kaboom Imagination Playground from the Naugatuck YMCA. The Parks and Recreation Department will have cotton candy and popcorn.

Over 100 local crafters, businesses, and civic organizations selling everything from custom woodwork to homemade spa products will line Church Street. Naugatuck High School’s new football coach, Dave Sollazzo, will be in a dunk tank.

Over 10 Naugatuck restaurants are participating and some will be selling alcohol for those of age.

The borough is already planning more festivals to fill out the year, Hess said.

He said the borough recently purchased a portable stage and tent and will soon be purchasing a new PA system, which will enable officials to plan festivals in any part of town, including possibilities on North Main Street or at Andrew Mountain Park. The funds for the purchases come from recording fees at the Town Clerk’s office.

“It’s not costing taxpayers anything,” Hess said.

Private sponsors, including Ion Bank, Fitzpatrick Mariano Santos Sousa P.C., and 66 Church are paying for the entertainment.

While the downtown festivals are designed to bring people downtown and create community spirit, Hess is planning events at the Naugatuck Event Center in the former GDC building to bring in revenue.

Hess is planning a patriotic celebration July 3, a summer festival Aug. 12, a fall festival Sept. 30, a motorcycle and big boy toy show Nov. 18, and a winter festival, tree lighting and large craft show in December.

He said he has a host of other shows lined up for the Naugatuck Event Center in January, February and March.

The town is not charging vendors for booths for the downtown festivals and some are raising money for various charitable causes, Lineweber said.

“We definitely are very open,” Lineweber said. “Whoever wants to be involved, you can be involved.”

Vendors, sponsors and anyone else interested in participating in future events should contact Lineweber at slineweber@naugatuck-ct.gov.

Free parking is available at the Naugatuck Event Center, formerly the General DataComm building, at 6 Rubber Avenue.

For more information on the festival, visit facebook.com/mayorpetehess.