Like the swallows that return each year to San Juan Capistrano to mark the start of spring, so William Connell returns to Stonington Borough each July to herald the coming of the annual Village Fair.
Connell was spotted on the morning of July 10 underneath the viaduct, mixing paint and spreading drop cloths in preparation for his annual climb onto the roof to paint the two billboards that advertise the Village Fair.
This year marks Connell's 34th billboard. And even though Connell, who is in his mid-70s, moved out of the borough in the late 1990s, he comes back every year to paint the signs. Each year the picture is different and is offered for sale in poster size at the fair. In 2007, to mark the 30th poster, Connell put together a coffee table book of them.
The 62nd annual takes place on Aug. 6.