WINSTED — For the last 84 years, Winsted has celebrated spring and the spirit of community with its Laurel Festival. It returns for the 85th year the weekend of June 7, kicking off the festivities Friday night with the Laurel Festival Ball at East End Park.
Running from 6-11 p.m., the ball will have food trucks, a fire show, a magic show and live music with Jim Moore and DJ Mike for dancing. Raffles will be held during the evening, and this year’s 10 Laurel Queen and King candidates will be introduced with their escorts. This year’s candidates include David Castillo, Angelina Delacruz, Byron Deily, Conor Bailey, Eleanor Oakes-Rogers, Karly Padin, Laurel Colabella, McKenzie Gauthier, Penelope Rein and Taryn Goulet.
The Laurel City Commission has six scholarships this year totaling $5,500, which will be awarded to deserving students.
Tickets for the Laurel Festival Ball are $35 for adults, $15 for students,and $300 for a table of 10 people. To buy tickets, email firstname.lastname@example.org or purchase them from the Winchester Town Clerk’s Office.
Major sponsors for the ball include Charlotte Hungerford/Hartford Healthcare, Torrington/Winsted Rotary Club and R & M Insulation.
On Saturday, June 8, the celebration continues with a Laurel Festival Community Day, starting at 10 a.m.
The Winchester Recreation Department will host a field day at Rowley Field, with a bouncy house and plenty of games for all ages. The Winchester Police Department will participate with a DARE table, and the Winsted Volunteer FIre Department will also take part. Local businesses and vendors will have tables at the field day. Laurel Live is presenting music during the day, raising money to benefit the town’s homeless shelter and soup kitchen. Laurel Queen and King candidates will scoop free ice cream starting at noon. There is no admission fee to attend the field day.
The festival continues Sunday, June 9, with the Laurel Parade, stepping off at 2 p.m. on Main Street. Participants include the Laurel candidates, the Hurricanes Marching Band, the Winsted Volunteer Fire Department, Waterbury Fife & Drum, Gilbert School Marching Band, Pearson School Marching Band, local bagpiper Ken Storrs, and the candidates on their sponsored floats. The parade concludes at East End Park, with the crowning of this year’s Laurel King and Queen.
Residents can learn more about the Laurel Festival on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/LaurelFestival/