New scope and direction for Celebrate Wilton!

WILTON – The town’s summer festival, known for the past few years as “Celebrate Wilton!,” has a new name, a new coordinator and some ambitious goals. It will now be called Summerfest.

From the annual Lions Club duck race on the Souhegan River to fireworks on Carnival Hill, Main Street Association Promotions Committee Member Michelle Levesque hopes to make June 21 into a day that will draw people from everywhere.

“We want to expand the scope,” she told the Board of Selectmen on April 21. “Our goal is to get bigger. We need to get more activity for the small businesses, start something to get people to come” and show them we have something here worth coming for.

Levesque was accompanied by association President David McGee. The purpose of the visit was to discuss the closing of Main Street for the day to hold a craft/artisans fair, as has been done in the past, but her proposal for using both sides of the street for vendors may have to be modified.

“One lane of the street has to remain open for emergency vehicles,” Selectmen Chairman Bill Condra said, “but discuss it with Fire Chief Ray Dick,” as well as Police Chief Brent Hautanen and Ambulance Director Gary Zirpolo. “See what they say.”

Diverting emergency vehicles behind the Town Hall onto Maple Street might not be practical.

The event will also be handicapped by the closing of the bridge on Route 31 onto The Island, which will divert all north- and westbound traffic onto Main Street from July 7 through Aug. 16.

Selectman Kermit Williams suggested “moving part of the fair into the police department parking lot and Selectman Rick Swenson suggested the Riverview Mill parking lot. Both would expand the festival and involve more areas of town.

Levesque’s plans, which are still being finalized, include the usual vendors, lots of music, possibly two stages, one at each end of Main Street, allowing Budweiser to have a beverage tent, and a street dance leading up to the fireworks.

Fireworks are entirely possible, since the association expects to find a sponsor and will acquire all needed permits and insurance. Selectmen were enthusiastic and said they saw no legal problems.

Speaking of the on-
going revitalization of the Main Street Association, McGee said, “We may do a number of small things this year. We’re working behind the scenes to rebuild the infrastruture.”

He added, “If we can pull this off, we will.”

The group will return to the select board when they have spoken with the emergency services and have more details.