Welcome to historic downtown Willimantic, an arts and entertainment district located in a National Register Historic District bordering the Willimantic River. Read on and discover that downtown Willimantic is more than just frogs!
Third Thursday Street Fest
From May to September, on the 3rd Thursday of each month, 6 blocks of Main St. are closed to vehicular traffic for the evening & filled with festival-goers.
Thousands of pedestrians browse merchandise within a background of musical, theatrical, visual & olfactory delights. There are clowns and bands and stilters to entertain you as you meander through the fest. Local & regional vendors set tables in the street showcasing the wealth of goods produced in CT.
This area is rich in musical talent. Seven stages, placed along Main Street, have continuous performances ranging from rhythm & blues to Latin jazz to folk rock to African drumming. The music is interspersed with performances by dance troupes, Kung Fu and puppeteers.
Street performers and children’s events are strategically placed throughout Main Street so a new adventure is always unfolding. One block may hold the Bounce Room and another face painting. Kids of all ages will have something special to enjoy.
Our cultural diversity brings wonderful food to the festival. There’s authentic Indian, Mexican, Syrian, Puerto Rican, Italian, and Ukrainian food vendors providing gastronomic delights from around the world. And there’s old-fashioned ice cream floats and other great desserts!
Willimantic is the home of the Willimantic Footbridge (established in 1907), which is the only footbridge in the United States to connect two state highways, as well as crossing all three major forms of transportation (road, rail, and river). Also located in Willimantic is The Willimantic Brewing Co./Main Street Café, a living landmark restaurant and pub brewery serving up fresh beer, an extensive menu and, most importantly, a unique experience.
It all started in June of 1754. The villagers of Windham were awakened in the middle of the night by terrible sounds coming from up the road. The settlers prepared for battle, fearing it was an Indian attack. When morning came the villagers grabbed their guns and marched towards the direction of the noise. When they arrived at the nearby pond the villagers were shocked to find the bodies of hundreds of dead bullfrogs. Those frogs that were still alive were heading towards the Willimantic River. The reason for the Bullfrog Battle was unclear. Some say there had been a drought, and the Bullfrogs were fighting for territory. Others say it was not a particularly dry summer, and there had been no drought. Another version is that the Miller had opened the dam's gate leaving the water level quite low. The pond was named Frog Pond from then on. The villagers took the frogs on as their mascot. To this day, you can see frogs all over Windham.