NAUGATUCK — The borough will ring in the holiday season with a downtown festival.
Naugatuck is hosting the first Light the Night Festival on Saturday from 4 to 10 p.m. The festival will take place along Church Street from the Town Green to Rubber Avenue. The rain date is Sunday.
The festival is an expansion of the borough’s traditional tree lighting ceremony and visit from Santa Claus on the Green.
Local restaurants, including 66 Church, Bellissimo Pizza & Pasta, Cotton Hollow Catering, Edible Dreams Custom Cakes, Jesse Camille’s Restaurant, Mario’s Pizza, Mike’s Pizza Palace, Nardelli’s Grinder Shoppe, Primo’s Restaurant, Santos Restaurant, Stone House Baked Goods and Wing it On Tap, will line Church Street, offering their delicacies. There will also be hot chocolate, cider and snacks.
Over 100 vendors, most of whom are from Naugatuck, are participating in the event. Stores along Church Street will also be open late for the festival and local community organizations and various charities will have a presence.
The festival is free for vendors and attendees, but everyone is asked to bring a nonperishable donation for the Naugatuck Ecumenical Food Bank or a new, unwrapped toy to donate.
Santa will arrive to light the Christmas tree at 5 p.m.
“We are trying to show off what we have here because there are so many great restaurants and people with a lot of talent,” festival coordinator Shelby Lineweber said. “The idea is people will be able to do their holiday shopping as well as eat.”
The festival will also feature live music and a live ice sculpting demonstration, Lineweber said.
The United Way of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls’ annual Festival of Trees will also be open at Ion Bank at 87 Church St.
The festival is a direct result of the popularity of the downtown festival the borough hosted in September, Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said.
“We decided to incorporate the lighting of the Christmas tree and the visit from Santa with a larger festival tied in to the Festival of Trees so we could combine events, get more people downtown, and have a bigger party than we would if we just lit the Christmas tree,” Hess said.
Local companies are sponsoring the roughly $2,000 cost of putting on the event, so it won’t be funded by taxpayer dollars.
“The response from the community has been so great that we’ve actually been contacted by people who want to donate,” Lineweber said.
In the future, Hess wants to purchase a stage and sound system to cut down on the long-term costs of more frequent festivals.
The Republican-American contributed to this article.