By LISA CAPOBIANCO
Live music, dance performances, crafts, sports tournaments and other festivities will dominate the West End of Bristol this weekend with the Third Annual Rockwell Park Summer Festival.
Organized and hosted by Bristol’s West End Association, the festival will take place this Saturday at Rockwell Park.
Every year the all-day event celebrates and highlights Bristol’s West End merchants and residents. The festival will feature an art fair (organized by Bare Bones and the association) where local artists and craft vendors will display a variety of their creations. The artists’ booths will be located by the small acoustic gazebo on the lagoon’s edge.
Besides art, the event also features a basketball, volleyball, and skateboard tournament as well as a “Kids Zone” that is sponsored by Liberty Bank and presented by the Imagine Nation Museum. The day of the festival also will include a drawing for a 40-inch flat-screen HD television donated by Bobroske Construction. Raffle entries, which will be completed and submitted during the event.
“There’s going to be something for everyone,” said Dave Hamelin, president of the West End Association. “We’re looking forward to having a great, family-friendly, fun day.”
This year, 20 local bands will show off their talent with live performances on the main stage for a full afternoon, and musicians also will perform acoustically at the park gazebo and in other areas. The headliner band is “The Go To” (TGT), a high energy alternative-pop band based out of Connecticut and Massachusetts that has been playing throughout the Northeast this past year. Bands expected to perform this year include High Octane, Woof, Blue Cherry, Hanging Hills, A Paper Tugboat, Dave and Trisha Connelly, Blue Cherry, Cartwheel, and Wise Old Moon. Other performers include Jason Gerrish, Kevin Goldreich, Orders, Pocket Vinyl, Zula, Jacket Thor, The Educators, José Oyola and The Astronauts, and Dangerous Animals. Local sponsors of the festival include Thomaston Savings Bank, Bristol Hospital, Wheeler Clinic, United Bank, Liberty Bank, Farmington Bank, Minuteman Press, Alliance Bail Bonds, Bargain Book, and the Republican and Democratic Town Committees.
A new festivity featured at this year’s festival is a first-ever mini wing competition called “Wing Ding,” which will offer signature wings of some Bristol restaurants, including Wings Over Bristol, People’s Choice, Corner’s Pizza, and Greers Chicken. Tickets will be sold at the event, and wings will be sold for $1 each. Guests can receive one free wing with the purchase of five wings. With every ticket purchase comes a raffle entry for a chance to win different prizes donated by the Democratic Town Committee. Guests also will receive a voting slip to cast a ballot for their favorite participating restaurant after the taste test. Participating restaurants will compete for the title of “Best Wings in Bristol,” as chosen by customers buying the wings.
“We’re always looking to make the festival a more interesting experience for people,” said Jesse Jablon, member of the West End Association and organizer of the wing competition.
The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The festival will begin with an opening ceremony at 10 a.m. Admission and parking are free, and free shuttle service provided by First Student Busing will be available from Depot Square in downtown Bristol (across from City Hall) and O’Connell School to the park. On-the-street parking is available in the vicinity of Rockwell Park, including the Dollar General parking lot on Divinity Street.
The West End Association is a non-profit neighborhood group of merchants and residents dedicated to the “preservation, safety, and overall quality of living in the city’s West End.” For more information on the Rockwell Summer Festival, visit https://www.facebook.com/WestEndAssociation. Anyone interested in participating as a vendor or providing other services at the festival can contact Hamelin at (860) 583-3292.
Comments? Email lcapobianco@Bristol Observer.com.