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Labor Day Festival a success despite fireworks cancellation

By ELLEN SIMMONS • Sep 6, 2017 at 5:22 PM

NEW LONDON — The 109th Labor Day Firelands Festival was a success from beginning almost to the end. Officials decided early in the afternoon to cancel the fireworks because of an approaching storm, but everything else went off as planned.

The fastest man in Saturday’s 5-K race was Dominic Albaugh with a time of 18:21 and the fastest woman was Kaylin Williams with a time of 22:02. The Rotary-sponsored parade featured 55 entries, with the high school marching band receiving the best overall group award, as well as being judged the best youth group.

Ethan’s Journey was the most unique float, the Deliverance Tabernacle the best adult group, the ODOT snowplow the best commercial entry and New London-Greenwich Rails to Trails the best car. Raffle winners were Rolland Burton, Joe Gerlak and Dean Bailey.

Some of the winners in the kids’ games were the following: frog jumping — Ethan Hicks, Levi Francis, Carter Hicks and Chris Francis; sack race — Isaac Mitchell, Henry Thomas, Carter Hicks, Raeanne Mitchell, Mason Cowie and Monte Maple; water cup race — Liam Lockhart, Mason Heydinger, Carter Lockhart, Sophia Wise, Nathan Peabody and Ryan Lockhart.

Isaac Mitchell, Henry Thomas, Heath Narveleit, Brock Sipes, Case Hinkle, Madison Fry and Anthony Barbarotta won the pizza-eating contest and Heather O’Connor won the cookie tasting contest with her Oreo mint cookies, a recipe she got from her grandmother, Patricia O’Connor.

The above are only a few of the “official” winners at the festival, but anyone who rode a ride, played a game, watched any of the shows, played bingo, enjoyed the parade, stopped by the Historical Society display or did any of the other activities associated with the festival was also a winner.

The biggest winner of all, however, was the village because a successful festival is key to the funding of the parks, which receive no tax money. It is also a time for the community to come together to produce its biggest weekend of the year.

Tentative plans are to reschedule the fireworks to Saturday, September 30 at the end of the Country Roads Music Fest at the Reservoir Park.

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