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Summer Stroll touted as gas-saving entertainment.

Byline: Anna L. Griffin

LEOMINSTER - With gas prices nearing record levels, the city will be offering families a chance to have a good time without the hassles of a road trip.

Only a little time travel is needed.

"Sometimes people think they have to load the family up in the car and travel to Six Flags or some other spot," said Mayor Dean J. Mazzarella. "They don't have to do that, because we're going to have a great time right here in downtown Leominster."

The city's second annual Summer Stroll will be held from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday in the downtown business district. The rain date is Sunday.

The event has a 1950s-1960s theme. "It's something that was popular and we decided to bring it back again this year," the mayor said. "It's just good family entertainment."

The free event is being coordinated by Sandie Chacon, business development coordinator/event planner for the city.

"Last year was the first year for the Summer Stroll. We have had a Holiday Stroll for a while, but decided to do something in the summer," she said.

"I truly believe people are looking for something to do in the summer months," Ms. Chacon said. "We did this originally to bring people into the city's downtown - to show off what we have here. One of the nice things about the event is it's another opportunity for people to get to know Leominster."

More than 50 locations will offer myriad activities. For example, the Leominster Art Association will set up an art exhibit called "Art in the Park" on the Common in Monument Square; the Leominster Public Library will hold a book sale; hula hoops will be available for use outside the Talk of the Town hairstyling salon, 49 Main St., and swing dancers from Dance2Swing will take over the parking lot of Enterprise Bank, 4 Central St.

Many of the downtown merchants will offer food. For example, Roma Pastry has a dollar special for coffee, ice coffee and cannolis. Free bags of Tri-Sum potato chips will be distributed for as long as they last from an antique Tri-Sum Potato Chip delivery truck parked near the Post Office on Main Street. Other merchants are offering snow cones, lemonade, popcorn and apple cider.

"We have lots of activities for children," Ms. Chacon said. These include crafts and games.

In addition, there will be entertainment throughout the afternoon.

The event kicks off with a parade of antique automobiles that will travel from Gariepy Furniture, Central and Adams streets, along Central Street to Main Street and conclude at the Post Office.

From 2 to 2:30 p.m. and from 3:30 to 4 p.m. the Johnny Appleseed Harmonizers, a group that sings in four-part harmony, will perform in Monument Square. At 3 p.m., the Leominster High School Drama Club will perform selections from the musical "Hairspray" in Monument Square. At 4:30 p.m., it will perform the same medley, this time near the Post Office. The International Veterans Choir will perform from 5 to 5:30 p.m. and the USO Singers from 5:30 to 6 p.m., both in Monument Square.

In addition, three musical groups will perform throughout the event. Rhythm will be near Monument Square, Insiders near the Post Office and Flashback near the site of the Walgreens (currently under construction) on Central Street.

Ms. Chacon said if last year's stroll is any indication, "the event is sure to draw thousands of people into the heart of our city. It's an event for people from outside of Leominster as well as people who live in the city."

"Lots of people use the stroll to reconnect with friends they haven't seen in a long time," the mayor said. "It's like a reunion. It's just a great time and we have a lot of fun putting it on."

In case of bad weather, a decision will be made to hold the stroll by 11 a.m. Saturday. A recorded message on its status can be heard by calling the mayor's office after 11 a.m. Saturday at (978) 534-7500.
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Jun 26, 2008
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