By Samantha Allen
WESTFORD -- The local Kiwanis will host its 46th anniversary for the Apple Blossom Festival with, technically, its 47th annual parade.
Kiwanis President Don Siriani, who was recently voted into a seat on the Board of Selectmen, is quick to distinguish. He's revving up for the 50th anniversary of the community event, but says this year will be just as fun.
Tradition will carry on with a local battle of the bands, the hosting of a carnival at the Abbot School, the crowning of Apple Blossom Queen and a parade on Saturday. This year's Kiwanis "person of the year" is Leslie Doherty, who heads the Westford Against Substance Abuse's "Last Night" program for Westford Academy seniors.
Doherty has lived in town for nearly her entire life. She was recognized by Kiwanis for serving as chairwoman of the Last Night program for the last 10 years. Upon learning of her award, to be presented at Saturday's ceremony following the parade, she thanked her volunteers for making the final, safe night possible for seniors.
"I would like to thank WASA for the nomination, Kiwanis for the recognition and the thousands of volunteers who have contributed to Last Night over the past 25 years," she said in a statement. "Hundreds of individuals contribute each year to make the night a success. I am just one of those individuals, and feel like this is an honor we should all be sharing."
Siriani said the Apple Blossom Festival is always a special time for the community.
"This is the one big opportunity for all of these town department and community groups to come together in this huge community celebration," Siriani said. "From that, we have these memories that people will share and talk about."
The Westford Police Department said there will be detours Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to make way for the annual parade that day. Drivers are encouraged to seek alternate routes for Main Street, Depot Street, Hildreth Street, Lincoln Street, Forge Village Road, Graniteville Road and Boston Road along with some secondary roads.
The Apple Blossom Festival started Wednesday and continues to Sunday at the Abbot School, with the Kiwanis Carnival ending at 5 p.m. that day. The carnival will be in the elementary-school parking lot. The annual parade will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
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The following is a listing of Apple Blossom Festival events for the remainder of the week. All activities will take place at the Abbot School parking lot unless otherwise noted.
6 to 10 p.m. - Kiwanis Carnival.
5 to 7 p.m. - Westford Against Substance Abuse (WASA) Ice Cream Social, sponsored by Kimball Farm, Abbot School cafeteria.
7 p.m. - WASA "Westford's Got Talent," Abbot School gym.
6 to 10 p.m. - Kiwanis Carnival.
6 to 8 p.m. - RE/MAX Tethered Air Balloon Rides.
6:30 to 9:30 p.m. - Battle of the Bands.
8 to 10 a.m. - First Parish Pancake Breakfast, First Parish Church, 48 Main St.
10 a.m. - Annual Apple Blossom Parade, marching from Main Street at Graniteville Road to the Abbot School.
10 a.m. to 10 p.m. - Kiwanis Carnival.
11 a.m. - Kiwanis pre-ceremony activities, with the West Street Serenaders and the Westford Police K-9 unit, Memorial Field at Abbot School.
11:30 a.m. - Kiwanis Ceremony with the naming of the Apple Blossom Queen and Person of the Year, Memorial Field at Abbot School.
11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. - Blackstone Valley Bluegrass Band performance.
2 p.m. - Jumbo Lobsters Raffle.
9 p.m. - Fireworks (rain date set for 9 p.m. Friday night).
Noon to 5 p.m. - Kiwanis Carnival.