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The Day - Sound & Country - - NIANTIC LIGHT PARADE -

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The heart of the stroll is West­erly’s High Street, which is closed off to car traf­fic for the night. The fes­tiv­i­ties ex­tend over to Canal Street, Rail­road Av­enue and around the corner and over the Con­necti­cut line onto Paw­catuck’s Broad Street.

“It’s re­ally quite beau­ti­ful. The can­dles are very vis­ually pleas­ing,” said Lisa Kon­icki, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the GreaterWesterly-Paw­catuck Cham­ber of Com­merce. “You can tell some­thing spe­cial is tak­ing place.”

The cham­ber co-spon­sors the an­nual hol­i­day event with theWester­lyPaw­catuck Down­town Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion.

The stroll is a great way to kick off the hol­i­day shop­ping sea­son, Kon­icki said. The down­town busi­nesses are ablaze with hol­i­day spirit in­side as well as out, from art gal­leries to restau­rants to spe­cial­ity stores.

About 63 mer­chants will par­tic­i­pate this year. Each busi­ness pro­vides re­fresh­ments, as well as dis­counts de­signed to draw shop­pers to their doors.

“It’s a won­der­ful way for our stores to be no­ticed,” said Jay Pel­le­grino, owner of the Van Ghent Cafe in West­erly and a mem­ber of the Down­town Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion. “There are some great deals here that night.”

Aside from the at­mos­phere and the shop­ping, peo­ple come for the so­cial as­pect, said Pel­le­grino,

“Peo­ple love to come out and see their friends, and the kids re­ally en­joy it too. The com­mu­nity is def­i­nitely a big part of the draw.”

And the vol­un­teer-run event demon­strates the ded­i­ca­tion of this com­mu­nity, Pel­le­grino said, with the town coun­cil cham­pi­oning the stroll and look­ing for more events like it.

“We try to make it as fes­tive as pos­si­ble,” Pel­le­grino said.

If the weather is good, Kon­icki ex­pects sev­eral thou­sand peo­ple to take part in the stroll. They will come, she said, not only from the lo­cal com­mu­nity but from be­yond as well.

“It’s now a time-hon­ored tra­di­tion,” she said of the stroll. “The down­town re­ally comes alive.” “IT’S RE­ALLY QUITE

BEAU­TI­FUL. THE CAN­DLES ARE VERY VIS­UALLY PLEAS­ING.

“YOU CAN TELL SOME­THING SPE­CIAL

IS TAK­ING PLACE.”

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