LEE -- A road race and expanded Sunday schedule highlight a revamped Founders Weekend celebration.
The one-mile fun run and one-mile competitive foot race is one of several additions to the upcoming three-day event this weekend in an attempt to draw more locals and visitors to the popular downtown festival, according to organizers.
The athletic event is scheduled for 10:15 a.m. Saturday on Main Street, 45 minutes prior to the "Hometown Parade" through the center of town. Registration for the race will begin at 9:30 a.m.
"The fun run is the key as it's more of a family event," said Joseph Furgal, coordinator of Founders Weekend presented by the Lee Chamber of Commerce.
As for Sunday's bolstered lineup, a walking tour of Lee's historic and revitalized Main Street, a magic show and music under the tent at the park next to Memorial Town Hall are among the additions for the final day.
"We're proud the way Sunday has shaped up," said chamber executive director, Lois Fusco. "We have a great deal of interest in the walking tour and expect a good turnout."
Chamber president Bruce Singer expects the new, varied events will attract more tourists to Founders Weekend and will stay for all three days.
"We've potentially made this an event that will put heads in beds," said Singer, owner of the 11-room Devonfield Country Inn. "Our inn is already sold out."
The big draw on Friday is the "Taste of Lee." Nearly 20 area restaurants and local food vendors will line the sidewalks on Main Street offering their favorite dishes while local talent performs at various downtown locations. For the third consecutive year of the 19th annual Founders Weekend, Main Street from St. Mary's Church to Park Street will be closed to vehicular traffic from 4 to 8:15 p.m. in order to make "Taste of Lee" pedestrian-friendly.
The road closure began in 2011 to accommodate the growing number of people taking part in the festival, organizers said.
Except for the Saturday's parade and road race, Main Street will remain open to all traffic for the remainder of the three-day celebration. The hourlong procession steps off at 11 a.m. and runs the length of Main Street, ending on Housatonic Street. This year's grand marshals are Jerry and Sandy LePrevost, lifelong town residents and leading business and community leaders in Lee.
Jerry LePrevost has been active in the Lee Chamber and was one of the originators of the Lee "Sale-abration" days, the forerunner to Founders Weekend. He and his family have operated Henry's Electric since 1946, an electrical contracting business that supports a number of youth groups, sporting activities and town events. Jerry is a longtime town meeting representative and currently serves on the Lee Traffic Commission and Energy Efficiency Committee.
His wife, Sandy, has volunteered at all levels of the chamber, including a stint as its president. She ran a gift shop on Main Street and was instrumental in beautifying the town through flower boxes, plantings and other public landscaping. Sandy and her husband also have been longtime, active members of the Lee Kiwanis Club, working on countless projects.
Founders Weekend features three days of events from Friday to Sunday. For a complete schedule of events, go to www.leefoundersweekend.com Here are some highlights:
n Day and evening: Main Street sidewalk sales
n 5-8 p.m.: Taste of Lee
n 7:30 p.m.: Lee Idol, Spectrum Playhouse, Franklin Street
n 8-10 p.m.: Dancing and music, town park, next Memorial Town Hall
n 10:15 a.m.: Fun run and road race on Main Street; registration begins 9:30 a.m.
n 11 a.m.: Lee Chamber of Commerce Hometown Parade, followed Lee Fireman's Muster, Lee Athletic Field
n 7:30 p.m.: Lee Idol finals, Spectrum Playhouse
n 4-8 p.m.: Festival Latino, town park
n 1-2:30 p.m.: Walking tour of Main Street
n 1-3:30 p.m.: Music under the tent, town park
n 3:30-4:30 p.m.: Magic show, town park
n 4:30 p.m.: Lee High golf team spaghetti dinner, First Congregation Church.