West Hartford festival returns in 2022 after two-year COVID break

Celebrate! West Hartford will return in 2022 after a two year hiatus due to the pandemic.

WEST HARTFORD — Celebrate! West Hartford will return in 2022 after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

Organizers announced the 35th community festival will be held June 11 and June 12. People’s Bank, which recently opened on LaSalle Road, is contributing $10,000 to the event as its presenting sponsor.

The last two years saw the town host modified events, including a “FUNd run” that allowed participants to run any distance, any time, anywhere over the course of a four-day period. The event served as a fundraiser.

Last year, the organizers put together a virtual arts and craft festival, replicating an integral part of their usual celebrations online.

But that doesn’t compare to the usual 40,000 people the in-person event attracts each year. Linda Geisler, the event director, said she’s looking forward to having Celebrate! West Hartford return to normal.

“For the town, and the community, getting back to an in-person event...there’s just no substitute for the interactions that you have between the exhibitors,” Geisler said. “They make connections when they are placed next to somebody else in a similar booth. They make connections and network and a whole lot of organic stuff that you can’t really define or expect. I think we all need that. It’s all about connection.”

An important part of Celebrate! West Hartford, Geisler said, is the fundraising aspect. Proceeds from the festival benefit The Town That Cares and the Leisure Services Scholarship Fund. The other important part is giving nonprofits a chance to exhibit their work to attendees.

“That is a critical part of our mission,” Geisler said. “We’re giving those organizations a platform to do that.”

The event is in its very early stages of planning, Geisler said, and as more sponsors, exhibitors and others begin to sign up, she’ll have a better idea of what the festival will look like.

“We’ll see what it looks like,” Geisler said. “We haven’t even put out applications yet for other sponsors or nonprofits or artists. That will be happening in the next month or two. When that starts, things will shape up, and we’ll have an idea of what we have to work with and what new and exciting things we’ll present to the community.”

The usuals will return, Geisler said, including professional bands on Sunday and the local high school and middle school bands performing on Saturday. There will also be the usual 5K race, an international food court, the popular arts and crafts show, carnival rides, games and more.

Businesses, individuals, nonprofits, artists and others who want to be involved with the festival can visit celebratewesthartford.com or call 860-561-7512 for more information.

Connecticut Media Group