SOUTHINGTON - The first weekend of the Apple Harvest Festival‚Äôs 50th season drew record crowds, according to coordinator Melissa Cocuzza.
Cocuzza said the annual town-sponsored downtown festival was ‚Äúfantastic.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúAttendance exceeded expectations,‚ÄĚ said Cocuzza. ‚ÄúA lot of the food booths ran out of food, which tells me that a lot of people were enjoying it.‚ÄĚ
Cocuzza said those who attended the festival were ‚Äúthrilled‚ÄĚ by the laser light show, which was new this year.
‚ÄúThe company that was running it extended it for ten minutes, people were enjoying it so much,‚ÄĚ Cocuzza said. ‚ÄúThey ran smoke machines and turned off all of the light poles on the town green. There was a canopy of clouds that was all lit up; it was just a magical feeling. I saw dozens of people leaving the festival afterward saying it was ‚Äėinsane.‚Äô‚ÄĚ
Cocuzza said the annual Apple Harvest Parade was also very well attended. The parade featured 40 large ceramic apples created by Southington Community Cultural Arts.
‚ÄúIt was fantastic to see the effort that people put into their floats,‚ÄĚ said Cocuzza. ‚ÄúThe theme of this year‚Äôs festival was Golden and Delicious and I felt that was on full display as they really showcased their artistic talent.‚ÄĚ
All of downtown was packed ‚Äúelbow to elbow‚ÄĚ Saturday night when Bowling for Soup performed, Cocuzza said. The concert was followed by the town‚Äôs annual fireworks show.
‚ÄúIn all the years I have lived in Southington I have never seen that many people gathered for a show,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúThere had to have been 10,000 people that night - it was really popular. I looked to the left and from the main stage to the Pepper Pot on Center Street it was packed solid. Then I looked to the right and it was packed solid to Columbus Avenue. People knew the words and they were all singing along. Then, for that to lead right into the fireworks, the timing was so beautiful.‚ÄĚ
There will also be some fun entertainment for visitors to look forward to this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
On Friday, starting at 5:30 p.m., past winners and finalists from the CT Icon singing competition will perform. The event was part of the festival for the past six years.
Also, starting Friday, a sand artist will begin work on an eight foot wide and eight foot high sculpture. The sculpture, expected to be finished Sunday, will fit with the festival‚Äôs apple theme and visitors are encouraged to watch it take shape.
The Arts & Crafts Show this year, Cocuzza said, has been ‚Äúgreatly expanded.‚ÄĚ There will be more than 50 booths. The craft show will run Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs going to be another good time and there‚Äôs a lot of nice things for the family to do that won‚Äôt break the bank,‚ÄĚ said Cocuzza.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Entertainment for this coming weekend at the Apple Harvest Festival:
Friday, Oct. 5.
5:30 p.m. ‚Äď Connecticut Icons
7:45 p.m. ‚ÄďExtreme Magic of Eric Wilzig
Saturday, Oct. 6
Noon ‚Äď Apple Pie Eating Contest
1 p.m. ‚Äď Taekwando
2 p.m. ‚Äď Jason Ingriselli & the Miles North
5 p.m. ‚Äď Crown Imperials
7 p.m. ‚Äď Mammoth Jack
Sunday, Oct. 7
Noon ‚Äď Dance City & the Arts
.2:30 p.m. ‚Äď The 70s Project