GROTON -- With last year's scheduling problems behind them, organizers for this year's annual Grotonfest celebration hope that the only thing they have to worry about that might effect a change in plans is rain.
However, with an unusual run of dry weather and sunny skies so far this summer, it seems unlikely that the event's rain date of Sept. 23 will be needed in substitute for the official Sept. 22 opening.
"The purpose of Grotonfest is really to strengthen the bond of community," explained event planner Jane Bouvier. "Certainly we want to make it a time when the whole community can get together for one day, but we also want to give local businesses a chance to really show what they have and who they are."
And rain or no, bad weather ought not to interfere with such aspirations.
As in past years, Grotonfest is sponsored by the Groton Board of Trade and will take place on the green expanse of Legion Common located off Hollis Street alongside the historic Old Burial Ground.
First held some 30 years ago under the name of Septemberfest, Grotonfest was renamed over a decade ago when first the Groton Business Association then the Groton Board of Trade took it over and transformed it from a purely cultural celebration to one that spotlights handicrafts while also promoting local businesses.
With its mix of advertising, crafts, food, music, entertainment, and, of course, local politicians, Grotonfest has attracted as many as 5,000 to 6,000 people in past years and Bouvier expects no different this time.
To keep those numbers up, this year's event will include as many as 160 booths manned by an array of business people, crafters and local politicians.
"This year there'll be a good mix of artisans, businesses, nonprofits and food," confirmed Bouvier.
With entertainment a big part of Grotonfest, Bouvier said a full set has once again been lined up so that there will be something going on the entire day. Acts include Animal Adventures, Irish singer Brian Corcoran, the Centerstage Dancers, the Powderhouse Gang barbershop quartet, the Nashoba Valley Dance Academy, and live demonstrations by Planet Gymnastics, Luth Karate and Buddha Neste Yoga.
Also as in past years, food will not be neglected, with local restaurateurs strongly represented, including Gibbet Hill Grill, Bull Run Restaurant, Devens Grill, Groton-Pepperell Rotary, Blackbird Café, the Bistro, The Natural Market, Main Street Café, West Groton Fire Department, Charlotte's, the Slush Lady, various nonprofit organizations and more.
"The good thing is that there is something for everyone in the family at Grotonfest," said Bouvier. "We have performers who are really community people doing it because it's a good thing to do. All our entertainment is family entertainment and that even includes some live alpacas. We've also got a big raffle going on and Mr. Mike is giving out five $100 gift cards that will all go to a single winner."
Major sponsors of Grotonfest include Middlesex Savings Bank, Groton Trust Funds Lecture Fund, Groton Wellness Medical Dental Spa and Bistro, Donelan's of Groton, and Filho's.
Media sponsors include Groton Landmark, The Sun of Lowell, the Groton Herald, Groton Line, Action Unlimited, the Boston Globe, the Groton Channel and TransMed USA.
"These are such hard times for small businesses, but they still support us, and we are very grateful for their support," said Bouvier. "It's what I like best about Grotonfest -- seeing the community come together. We have people coming from Maine to Rhode Island. Grotonfest just shows off the town of Groton and is just a great family day."
But even with this year's edition of Grotonfest still a few days away, Bouvier said there was no time for planners to rest on their laurels.
"We start planning now," said an enthusiastic Bouvier of the 2013 edition. "We already have people booked for next year."
This year's Grotonfest celebration is scheduled for Saturday, from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.