WinterFest, Bethel’s traditional holiday season grand opener, is set for the day after Thanksgiving, November 24. The event takes place from 2 p.m.-7 p.m. and offers activities for the entire family. It begins with a stroll along Greenwood Avenue from 2 pm.-5 p.m., features food, music, horse-drawn wagon rides, and culminates at the Municipal Center with the lighting of the town’s newly planted Christmas tree and the arrival of Santa Claus. The Chamber of Commerce sponsors this annual event.
Families can line up for a wagon ride on School Street from 2 p.m.-4:30 p.m. To help take the chill off the air, the Girl Scouts are handing out hand warmers, and strollers will get nourishment in the form of soup, hot chocolate, s’mores and holiday cookies. Soup is donated by local restaurants and the Cub Scouts. Hot chocolate is from the Chamber table at M&T Bank, s’mores are from the South Street Fire Station, and holiday cookies are thanks to Bethel High School’s Key Club. Music will be provided by Tim Roche (PT Barnum Square) and Erik Toner (in front of the library).
At 5 p.m. activities move to the Municipal Center, where the Bethel High School Chorus will perform seasonal favorites, and the Big Y will provide hot chocolate. The lighting of the Christmas tree takes place at 5:30 p.m., followed by the arrival of Santa Claus in a fire truck. In the past, the tree lighting was held in PT Barnum Square. With WinterFest’s increased popularity and its larger crowds, “the Square is now too small to safely accommodate the attendees,” according to Dan Carter, First Selectman. “Even so, I am certain the Chamber will create an amazing event.”