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9/16/2018 - September 16: Celebrate Mansfield Festival

15th Annual Celebrate Mansfield Festival:
Sunday, September 16

September 4, 2018 – The Mansfield Downtown Partnership invites area residents to gather at the 15th Annual Celebrate Mansfield Festival for music, food, and fun! The excitement begins with the Celebrate Mansfield Parade at noon and continues until 4:00 pm. The Celebrate Mansfield Festival will be Sunday, September 16 on and around Betsy Paterson Square in Downtown Storrs (if it rains, the event will be held inside E. O. Smith High School).

Be sure to arrive early to grab a seat on the street because Storrs Road (Route 195) will close at 11:45 am to accommodate the Parade. The UConn Marching Band will anchor an eclectic line-up of community groups, local businesses, sports teams, animals, and larger-than-life puppets from the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry.

Follow the Celebrate Mansfield Parade from the Post Office, north on Storrs Road to Paterson Square, where Festival Chair Betsy Paterson will welcome one and all to the Festival.

Throughout the afternoon, nearly 100 Mansfield businesses and organizations will host activity booths featuring hands-on fun for all ages. Hungry visitors can check out one of the Festival food booths or stop by one of the many Downtown Storrs restaurants which will be open during the event. The UConn Dairy Bar truck and Food for Thought truck will also be ready to serve visitors.

This year’s Festival will feature unique entertainment! The Second Stage, located on Wilbur Cross Way, will feature children’s entertainment with Kidsville Kuckoo Revue (1:00 PM) and Pete Haddad’s Hubba Bubba Magic Show (2:00 PM).

On Dog Lane, UConn’s Dining Services returns to host their popular cooking demonstrations at 1:00 and 2:00 PM. The Flower Pot will offer flower-arranging demonstrations at 1:30 PM and 2:30 PM.

Following the Parade, visitors are invited to take in a special performance, a Community Puppet Pageant! The Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry and Mansfield Downtown Partnership have teamed up to present a truly unique spectacle featuring Sheroes, Heroes, and Other Champions of the Mansfield Community. The puppets in the pageant will be the results of the Ballard and Partnership’s annual free Community Puppet-Building Workshop (Saturday, Sept. 8 and Sunday, Sept. 9).

The headlining performance of the 15th Annual Celebrate Mansfield Festival will be by Sinkane! Sinkane music — every note of it — comes straight out of a generosity of spirit. Never has that spirit been on more vivid display than on the uplifting new album Life & Livin' It. This is feel-good music for trying times, celebrating what makes life good without ignoring what makes it hard.

In making a record that feels like this, Ahmed Gallab's primary intention was to make music that is joyous, but also socially conscious when you scratch beneath the surface. The songs "U'Huh" and "Theme from Life & Livin' It" conjure up the simple pleasures of hanging with friends, but there are heavier vibes in there. Ahmed says, "I remember listening to Bob Marley as a child. Dancing with my family in our living room and then my mother telling me what issues he was addressing, and that it was important to remember those things while listening. It made the music even better because it became about something more."

"Favorite Song" came about from Ahmed's experiences DJ'ing in New York. "As a DJ you're always paying attention to the collective energy in the club. When you play a song that everyone knows, everybody is connected, lost in the music." That song, along with "U'Huh," has lyrics sung in Arabic, Ahmed's native tongue. "Kulu shi tamaam!" means "everything is great!" while "ya zol ya zain!" is a Sudanese term of endearment meaning "my beautiful friend." "It's really easy to understand the tone of those words," Ahmed adds. "They just feel good, you don't have to know what they mean. It's kind of like listening to Caetano Veloso or Jorge Ben — you don't have to know Portuguese to feel what they're saying."

True to its name, Life & Livin' It is an album about all kinds of experiences. When Ahmed Gallab sings, he sounds unafraid yet vulnerable. But while he once sang of feeling like he was on the planet Mars, Ahmed is now firmly grounded on Earth. He's no longer searching for his home — he has created a home for himself. There's a party there, and Life & Livin' It is playing on the stereo. You are invited.

Sinkane will perform at 2:30 PM on the stage of the Jeffrey P. Ossen Family Foundation Pavilion on Betsy Paterson Square. The Mansfield Downtown Partnership produces the Celebrate Mansfield Festival with the generous support of local businesses. The 2018 Platinum Sponsors are: Barnes and Noble UConn; Gulemo Printers; The Oaks on the Square; and Price Chopper. The 2018 Gold Sponsors are: Town of Mansfield; Regional School District #19; UConn; Educational Playcare; Kahan, Kerensky & Capossela, LLP; Mansfield OB/GYN; and WILI. The 2018 Silver Sponsors are: ACF Property Management, Inc.; Amazon@Storrs; Dr. Karen Calef; Cipparone & Zaccaro; Design Center East; East Brook Animal Hospital; Hartford HealthCare Center for Healthy Aging at Windham Hospital; LAZ Parking; Moe’s Southwest Grill; Mooyah; Nathan Hale Inn & Conference Center; People’s United Bank; Renewal by Anderson; Savings Institute Bank & Trust; SBM Charitable Foundation; Tony’s Garage; UConn Foundation; Universal Package Store; Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, P.C.; Weichert Realtors Four Corners Real Estate; and Wilcox & Reynolds.

For more information, visit downtownstorrsfestival.org.