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Annual Celebrate West Hartford This Weekend

Celebrate West Hartford this weekend

WEST HARTFORD — In its 30th year, Celebrate West Hartford will once again offer a variety of entertainment, dining, shopping and free activities for those who plan to attend.

Each year, about 35,000 people attend the two-day celebration, which features a 5K road race Sunday; two days of musical performances, carnival rides and games; a variety of dining options and artisan vendors; as well as horse-drawn carriage rides, a petting zoo, and sponsor and nonprofit group booths, event director Linda Geisler said Tuesday. Admission for many activities is free.

Celebrate West Hartford "was the brainchild" of former West Hartford mayor Nan Glass and Clare Feldman, longtime committee member Barbara Belmont said. Glass and Feldman said they were interested in creating an event to bring West Hartford residents together, Belmont said.

Geisler said the two-day celebration appeals to different generations because of the variety of things to do, from shopping to dining and games — "there's something for everyone."

This year, Celebrate West Hartford is Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. at West Hartford Town Hall.

Free parking is available at the Isham Garage, 17 Isham Road, and Town Center Garage, 29 South Main St. No parking is allowed on the west side of South Main Street from 29 South Main St. to 55 South Main St. (from Dunkin' Donuts to First Niagara). Burr Street will be closed.

This year will feature about 160 artisan booths, including woodworking, photography, glasswork and jewelry; 65 nonprofit organizations; 50 sponsor booths; 27 food vendors; 10 carnival rides, including a Ferris wheel, tilt-a-whirl, and merry-go-round; and games of chance and skill.

Both days feature music entertainment. Sunday's musical performances will include Braiden Sunshine, a semi-finalist from season 9 and the youngest performer on "The Voice."

Sunday morning is the annual 5K road race and a Kids Fun Run. The Kids Fun Run, a half-mile run through Blue Back Square, begins at 8:30 a.m. The 5K road race, which surpassed the 1,000 runner mark last year with 1,004 participants, starts at 9:30 a.m. Both begin at Whole Foods, 50 Raymond Road. Local roads will be closed for the 5K road race, including both sides of Raymond Road from Boulevard to Isham Road, both sides of Isham Road from Raymond Road to Memorial Road, and both sides of Memorial Road from Isham Road to Raymond Road.

Returning this year is a free scavenger hunt for kids and families called "Step Up To Help," which challenges kids and families to pick up a map and stop at a series of booths and participate in a physical activity.

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