'Rockville Fest' planners hoping for best year yet

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Vernon - posted Fri., Sep. 9, 2011
A young man inspects the engine of a classic car at the 2010 Rockville Fest. File photos by Steve Smith.
A young man inspects the engine of a classic car at the 2010 Rockville Fest. File photos by Steve Smith.

Much is planned for this year’s Rockville Fest on Sept. 24. This year, the Rockville Community Alliance has taken on the lion’s share of the event’s planning, and its volunteers will be coordinating the event.

The RCA’s Pam DiDio said the focus will be on having more family-friendly activities and vendors. “The RCA is hoping this year's fest will be bigger and better than ever,” DiDio said. “We're hoping more people come out, because there will really be something for everyone.”

Young children will enjoy the inflatable bounce house, snow cones, face-painting and many other activities and events. A karate demonstration and a dance performance are scheduled, as well as a magic show from local magician Bryan Flint (who is also a member of the RCA).

The centerpiece of the event is the TriTown Cruzers Classic Car Show. The car show will include raffle items to benefit the Matthew Gauruder Memorial Scholarship. More than 150 cars are expected.

Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen, Nicole Nemense will appear at the fest. Nemense will be signing autograph cards for kids, help give out the trophies to the car show winners at 2:30 p.m., and will speak about her pageant experiences with children and their parents at Bev’s Corner.

Flint, who has performed at the event (which has undergone several incarnations) since he was a teen, said there has been a resurgence of its popularity in recent years. “It kind of came back with the bicentennial of Rockville in 2008,” he said. “The RCA has basically partnered with so many other local organizations who are looking to do the same thing. A lot of the community groups and crafters will get to show their local flavor.”

Vendors and crafters will be on hand. Some of the booths already on board include Friendly's Ice Cream, Vernon Democrats, Vernon Republicans, Pampered Chef, Express Wireless, and Bev's Corner. Some of the local Rockville merchants are expected to hold sidewalk sales during the event.

There is also an ever-popular walking tour of historic Rockville, which begins at 1 p.m. in front of the Rockville Downtown Association office. The Vernon Historical Society's Robert Hurd said people especially enjoy learning about the Victorian architecture. “People like the upper-middle-class houses around Talcott Park, including the George Sykes House, the Burke-Fortin Funeral Home, the J.J. Regan House and some of the other houses,” he said. “A lot of people find they have learned some things about the development of the city of Rockville that they didn't know before.” The tour typically takes just over 90 minutes.

Flint said the fest has had a real impact on people. “What happens is, lots of people drive through Rockville all the time,” he said. “But when they are actually there, looking at the classic cars, the buildings and watching the entertainment, we overhear people saying they never realized how beautiful downtown Rockville was.”

For more information, visit www.rockvillect.org.

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