Norwich - In an event that's part carnival, part education fair, part sports clinic and part ethnic festival, Norwich Free Academy will fling open its doors and gates Saturday for the first "Celebrate NFA Day."
About 200 students plus faculty, support staff and parents will run the event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the NFA campus, guiding guests to dozens of activities and performances by NFA students and groups. Admission is free, while some games will carry a small fee and food will be sold by various clubs - including NFA's many ethnic clubs - as fundraisers for their activities.
The celebration, which harkens back to the long-defunct Cherry Blossom Festival NFA once hosted, was the brainchild of the Student Advisory Board. The event kept growing to include more and more activities enlisting more student groups to run them, student board Adviser Amy Correia said.
Throughout the day, an NFA Passport game will send participants all over campus to obtain Wildcat paw prints for several marquis programs offered at the school, from sports to arts and cultural opportunities. Those who fill their passports will receive free "Celebrate NFA" T-shirts.
One of NFA's most famous graduates, best-selling author and former NFA creative writing teacher Wally Lamb, will sign autographs from 1 to 3 p.m.
The recently renovated Slater Memorial Museum will be open for tours and will offer a scavenger hunt. NFA art students will give free pottery wheel and screen printing demonstrations. Other art students will offer face painting for children.
For those interested in sports, members of the NFA football team will offer an agility course, and cheerleaders will hold a cheering clinic.
The Ensemble Room in the Sidney Frank Center will serve as an NFA curriculum fair for future NFA students and anyone considering attending the high school. Descriptions of NFA's courses and programs will be provided, and student clubs will have tables to explain their activities.