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Danbury, CT (Population: 78,736)

Danbury is located in Fairfield county and, according to the 2005 census, had an estimated population of 78,736. The city is within commuting distance via rail to New York City and this, combined with the low cost of living, has led to a rapid growth rate for Danbury. Once a center for the hat industry in the United States, the city carries the nickname, “The Hat City.” Danbury is now the home of several large companies headquarters, including Ethan Allen, Praxair (a Fortune 500 company which produces and sells industrial gases), and Scholastic Library Publishing, Inc.

Western Connecticut State University is located in Danbury, and is home to the “Jane Goodall Center for Excellence in Environmental Studies.” Outdoor attractions play an important role in Danbury. Locations such as the Old Quarry Nature center feature educational hikes while other venues such as the Tarrywile Mansion and Park offer miles of hiking trails as well as sites for hosting special events. The Bear Mountain Reservation and Danbury Candlewood park, named for Candlewood Lake, are other popular sites.

The city hosts a “Summertime Festival of the Arts” each year which features free performances by professional ballet, symphony and theatrical troupes. There are also Greek and Irish festivals in Danbury which showcase music, food and other live entertainment pertaining to these cultures. With everything from a “Bead Fiesta” to the annual Western New England homes show, there's a festival or event for just about everyone in Danbury.