How to Enjoy a Blockbuster Road Race Weekend in Litchfield

Road Race Weekend Litchfield

Road Race Weekend is here!

Always held the second weekend in June, the 46th Litchfield Hills Road Race begins at 1 p.m. Sunday, with the awards ceremony taking place on the Green at approximately 2:45 p.m.

Covering a 7-mile course with the grueling Gallows Hill toward the end, the race is obviously the marquee attraction for runners – and it draws elite athletes from around the world.

Road Race Weekend is also jam-packed with lots of other events and activities that will delight non-runners, including Connecticut Open House Day, when several Litchfield attractions/destinations are doing something special.

Experiencing Litchfield against the electric backdrop of race weekend is exhilarating. Below we detail what’s happening and offer tips ranging from where to park to how to best enjoy watching the road race as a spectator.

Pro Tip: As you plan your agenda, pick up a free road race program book at lots of venues in town, including Ace of Litchfield, the Litchfield Post Office, Litchfield Hills Fitness, and the restaurants on the Green. It has details on children’s’ races, a race map, parking info, and more. Also be sure to follow @litchfieldhillsroadrace on Instagram and watch the website for up-to-date details.

What’s Happening and When

Road Race Weekend festivities kick into high gear on Saturday, and the Connecticut Open House Day events also taking place in town will bring added appeal and energy.

  • There will be not one but two arts & crafts shows on the Green, including the Litchfield Makers Market Road Race Weekend Litchfield on the north side of the Green from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the Litchfield Marketplace, a craft and vendor fair that’s open from
    9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • The annual Grill Days event at Ace of Litchfield takes place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with grilling demos, food samples, a free grill giveaway, and more.
  • The Block Party in Litchfield center, featuring The Tradesmen playing Rock, Blues, Country and classics, is 7 to 10 p.m. It’s sponsored by the Town of Litchfield CT Parks and Rec department.

Connecticut Open House Day Events Saturday

Road Race Weekend Litchfield: East Litchfield ChapelVisit the East Litchfield Chapel, the only public building in East Litchfield remaining from the railroad era, and view railroad era photos.  Built by community members in 1868, it served as a community Sunday school, meeting place, and house of worship. It’s currently used for meetings, talks, music nights, and the occasional intimate wedding. Doors will be open from 10 a.m. to noon. 62 East Litchfield Road South.

Litchfield Hills Farm-Fresh Market wraps up its indoor season at the Litchfield Community Center Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 421 Bantam Rd.

Litchfield Historical Society Walking Tour of Litchfield Historic District: Discover Litchfield’s vibrant history and explore the town’s celebrated Historic District. The one-hour walking tour leaves from the Litchfield History Museum (7 South St.) at 1 p.m. and provides visitors with an overview of Litchfield’s history, from the stories behind famous landmarks to anecdotes about past residents and an appreciation of prominent buildings. Walking tours are free from members and $10 for non-members. Register online.

The Shrine of Lourdes in Litchfield is a replica of the Grotto Lourdes in France built of local fieldstone by two Montfort Brothers, Brother Alfonso, and Brother Gabriel, with the help of Montfort seminarians and people from the area. The Grotto is the site for Mass and other services held in the open air from May through mid-October. The grounds of the Shrine are open year-round, from dawn to dusk. 50 Montfort Rd., off East St./Route 118.

The White Memorial Conservation Center Nature Museum is open with free admission from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. for Connecticut Open House Day. 80 Whitehall Rd., off Route 202.

Sunday: It’s race day!

Best Places to Watch the Race:

Road Race Weekend LitchfieldThe start/finish line on West Street next to the Green is a prime spot for spectators. There you can also catch the various children’s races that start at noon and continue through about 1:16 pm. Other prime spots include alongside St. Anthony Cemetery on Whites Woods Road; the stretch has been dubbed “microwave mile” and runners pass by twice. The corner of Constitution & Whites Woods Road adjacent to the cemetery is another great spot and there will even be a band playing there. Gallows Lane, the grueling hill and big test for runners near the end of the course, is also a great spot. (Here’s a list of other bands and their locations.)

Where to Park:

Page 31 of the road race program has a map showing these recommended parking locations: Center School, Community Field, the Congregational Church, Litchfield Fire Department, St. Anthony’s Church, the Town Garage, Litchfield Town Hall, and lot behind Union Savings Bank. There is also parking in the municipal lot behind the West Street shops and restaurants, but given that roads affected by the race route will be closing at 11 a.m., it only works for those who plan to arrive early and stay well past the race. Otherwise you’ll get stuck in the lot.

When to Arrive:

Roads in Litchfield center and elsewhere affected by the route of the race close at 11 a.m., so plan to arrive and park by around 10:45.

Before and After the Race:

Restaurants and shops in Litchfield center are typically open on race day, and some even have special menus. So come early for coffee and breakfast, and stay after the race to shop, stroll, and dine. The Bakehouse  in the Old Litchfield Jail opens at 8 a.m., Petraroia Deli opens at 9, and Espresso 59 opens at 10, serving special “handheld” and easy “to go” items all day. The Village Restaurant will be grilling burgers for race day, and most other restaurants in the center of town will be welcoming guests.



Friday’s activities aren’t strictly road race related, but they’re a great way to get things started and become immersed in the Litchfield vibe.

White Flower Farm used to hold an annual spring tent sale and this year it’s back, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a broad array of perennials, annuals, shrubs and vines, plus unique garden ornaments, supplies, containers, cachepots, decorative accents, and more. 

Road Race WeekendLitchfield High School students, working with teacher Michele Murelli, spent six months painting a 20-foot-long mural featuring fantasy folk art spirit animals called Alebrijes, considered guides and protectors. AP Spanish students conducted art history research on the origins of Alebrijes as part of the project, and the mural will be displayed @atcsouthst. (At the Corner South Street) Info about the mural project will be presented in an event Friday (5/9) at 4 p.m.

The new Bantam Community Farmers Market is being held Fridays through October, from 4-7 p.m. at Alain White Field, 273 Bantam Lake Rd.

Chabad Lubavitch is holding a Shabbat Market on Fridays from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on the Green, offering three items to “make your Shabbat even more special,” Fresh Brooklyn Challah, Bubbe’s Matzah Ball Soup, and Hemish Potato Kugel. 69 West St.