East Hartford Holiday Fest 2013 scheduled for Dec. 6-9

By Corey AmEnde - Staff Writer
East Hartford - posted Wed., Nov. 27, 2013
The tree-lighting ceremony on Friday, Dec. 6, at 6:30 p.m. on the town green kicks off Holiday Fest 2013. Photo contributed by Pat Sirois. - Contributed Photo

The East Hartford Beautification Commission is putting the final touches on preparations for the town’s annual Holiday Fest.

This year marks the 21st year of the event, which will be celebrated from Friday, Dec. 6, through Monday, Dec. 9.  The event is presented by the East Hartford Beautification Commission and is supported by numerous civic, community and town organizations.

There are 28 different events over the course of the four days that are held throughout town. Proceeds from this year’s event will go to the severely depleted food banks in town.

The Holiday Fest Committee is selling Holiday Fest buttons for $2 each, with all proceeds going to the food banks. The committee is also asking each person to bring a non-perishable item to each event. “We’re not only celebrating the holidays, but we’re helping our neighbors in need, and I think that’s important for the town to come together and celebrate, have fun and help your neighbors,” said Pat Sirois, who has been the Holiday Fest chair for all 21 years.

Holiday Fest 2013 kicks off on Friday, Dec. 6, at 6:30 p.m., with the tree-lighting and sing-along at the Town Green. Santa Claus is scheduled to make an appearance, as are Frosty and Rudolph. The master of ceremonies for the event will be Mike Allan, air traffic reporter for WTIC AM.  The East Hartford High School and Middle School chorus will also be at the event.  Sirois said in case of inclement weather the tree-lighting will be held inside at the East Hartford Community Cultural Center (EHCCC). Sirois said due to the renovations at Raymond Library, most of the events will be at the EHCCC this year.

A new event will be the “Santa Swim,” presented by the East Hartford Parks and Recreation Department and taking place on Friday, Dec. 6, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the East Hartford High School pool. Residents can have their photo taken with Santa underwater.  Attendees are urged to bring a new, unwrapped toy to the event.

Rounding out the schedule of events for Friday night is the vocal group Voices, LLC who will perform at 7:30 p.m. at First Congregational Church, located at 837 Main St.

Saturday features 16 events, starting with the pancake breakfast and visit with Santa, from 8 to 10:30 a.m., at First Congregational Church. The cost is $5, and $3 more for a picture with Santa.  From 2 to 4 p.m. enjoy a “Christmas in Connecticut” piano concert by East Hartford native Paul Bisaccia with special guest David Giardina at First Congregational Church. Saturday’s events conclude with a Holiday Dance Festival at 7 p.m. featuring children and adult dancers at the EHCCC.

There are five events scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 8, starting with a Holiday Brunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. sponsored by the East Hartford Democratic Women’s Club held at Marco Polo.  Cost is $25 per person, advance purchase only.

Sunday’s events conclude with a snowman building contest from 1 to 3 p.m. at the EHCCC. This event is weather permitting and snow will be provided if it doesn’t already exist on the ground.

Holiday Fest concludes with four events on Monday - a book sale from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the EHCCC, the Lighting of the Tree of Lights at 6 p.m. on the front lawn of the town hall sponsored by the East Harford Women’s Club and, “Stories and Crafts with Mrs. Claus,” from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the EHCCC.  Festivities conclude with a Musical Fest at 7 p.m., including the United Pratt Chorus and members of the community and local churches to be held at Riverside Health Care Center at 745 Main St.

“It’s a lot of work,” said Sirois of putting on the Holiday Fest. “It’s a labor of love, and when it’s all over it’s a great amount of accomplishment that we’ve done it and we look forward to next year.”

Sirois said she got the idea for Holiday Fest when she took a trip to Maine with Marylee Hickey, a fellow beautification commissioner, and the town they were visiting had a Christmas Fest. “We thought, well, we could bring that back to East Hartford and we did,” said Sirois. 

For more information on Holiday Fest 2013 and a full listing of the schedule of events, visit the town’s website at www.easthartfordct.gov.

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