24th extravaganza ready to blast off in Norwich

Norwich - After organizers of the 24th annual Fireworks Extravaganza make a final push for volunteers and last-minute sponsors, they will look forward to watching the fruits of months of effort explode Saturday in the sky above Norwich Harbor.

The two-day event this year features live music Friday and Saturday, a day-long festival at the Howard T. Brown Memorial Park Saturday and the grand opening and dedication ceremony for the new owners of the Marina at American Wharf Saturday evening.

When Joyal Capital Management LLC purchased the marina last fall, the new owners pledged $25,000 to the event, offered the firm's marketing company of Peak Seven Advertising to help market it and secured a $25,000 title sponsorship from Mohegan Sun Casino a short distance down the Thames River. The committee hopes to raise $100,000 for this year's event and future fireworks festivals.

On Saturday, Mohegan Tribal Chairman Bruce "Two Dogs" Bozsum, the tribe's ceremonial pipe carrier, will bless the marina during a grand opening ceremony at 5:30 p.m. on the marina grounds.

The festival starts Friday at Brown Park with a 7 p.m. concert by the band Melaena.

On Saturday, Brown Park activities start at 11 a.m. and end at about 10 p.m. after the fireworks. Food, craft and novelty vendors will set up at the park, and there will also be live entertainment, including a bounce house, carnival games, a balloon artist, face painting and a magician for children. Live music with local bands will start at noon.

Headliner band Eight to the Bar will play at 2 p.m. and Changes in Latitudes will perform at 7:30 p.m.

The fireworks are scheduled to start shortly after 9 p.m. All activities are free, and free parking is available in nearby parking lots and garages.

c.bessette@theday.com

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