The Mansfield Downtown Partnership invites area residents to gather at the 16th Annual Celebrate Mansfield Festival for music, food, and fun in Downtown Storrs!
This year’s event will have a new day, date, and schedule: Saturday, September 21 from 2:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Visitors will enjoy exploring over 70 activity and food booths hosted by local businesses, community groups, and UConn departments and programs from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM all along the streets in Downtown Storrs.
Talented chefs from UConn Dining Services return with their popular cooking demonstrations on Dog Lane at 2:00 PM and 3:00 PM. Feeling inspired, visitors can walk over to the Mansfield Town Hall to pick up fresh, local produce for their own culinary creations: Storrs Farmers Market will be open from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM.
There will be a variety of entertainment on Betsy Paterson Square throughout the event, beginning with a performance by The UConn Conn-Men at 2:00 PM to open the Festival. Additional performers include: Kidsville Kuckoo Revue (2:15 PM); UConn Kodama Taiko (3:30 PM); Mariachi Mexico Antiguo (4:00 PM); and Zikina (5:00 PM). Strolling through the Festival grounds will be a number of local choral and a cappella groups, including: Consonare Choral Community; The Chordials; UConn Conn-Men; Extreme Measures; Husky Hungama; Notes Over Storrs; Nothing Cleft to Lose; The Rolling Tones; and Rubyfruit.
The Community Puppet Pageant, presented by the Ballard Institute & Museum of Puppetry will take place on Paterson Square at 3:00 PM. Participants from the annual Community Puppet-Building Workshop will perform with their creations. There will be an opportunity for audience participation, so even if you missed the workshops, you can still join in the fun!
At 6:00 PM, visitors are encouraged to pick up some dinner from one of the Festival food booths or from one of the many great restaurants in Downtown Storrs and head to Betsy Paterson Square for a special concert to cap the day. Parsonsfield, a folk-rock outfit known for their rich harmonies, vibrant songwriting, and energetic live performances, will perform from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM.
Praised for making "the most jubilant and danceable indie roots music this side of the Carolinas” (NPR), Parsonsfield’s latest release, WE (2018 Signature Sounds), is contemplative, filled with real life struggle and excitement. The album takes us from the joys of childhood discovery to the depression and confusion of a quarter-life crisis to dancing your way toward the darkness at the end of days. In this collection of songs they push the boundaries of their harmony-driven grassroots origins to create their own distinctive Americana, integrating pop and bold rock flourishes along the way. Produced by Dan Cardinal (Josh Ritter, The Low Anthem, Darlingside), WE captures the band’s maturing sound, having as much influence from 90s rock and 70’s R&B as it does the indie folk material that fans have come to expect.
The band draws their name from the rural Maine town that's home to the Great North Sound Society, the farmhouse-turned-recording-studio of Josh Ritter keyboardist/producer Sam Kassirer. It was there that Parsonsfield cut their outstanding debut, Poor Old Shine (2013 Signature Sounds), which established them as a roots force to be reckoned with. Their rowdy live performances only upped the ante, with The Bluegrass Situation falling for their "fun and frenzy" and No Depression raving that they'll "give you rich five-part harmonies one minute…then rock you over the head with unbearably cool and raucous Celtic rhythms."
They once again called on Kassirer for their follow-up, Blooming Through The Black (2016 Signature Sounds), enlisting his engineering and production ingenuity to help convert an axe factory into a temporary recording studio. American Songwriter says Blooming Through The Black captures “the live energy the band has come to be known for.” WNYC says "Parsonsfield is based in western Massachusetts, but their music draws on the string bands of Appalachia. At least in part. They also like to crank up the amps and pin your ears to the wall.”
Catch them onstage any night and the band’s joy is palpable. They trade instruments, share microphones, and shoot each other big grins. They sing in tight multi-part harmonies, their voices blending like they've been doing this together all their lives. That’s because Parsonsfield is a family band, not by birth but by choice. Parsonsfield is: Chris Freeman (vocals, banjo, guitar, bass), Antonio Alcorn (vocals, mandolin, banjo, bass), Max Shakun (vocals, guitar, keys, bass), Erik Hischmann (vocals, drums, percussion, bass).
The Mansfield Downtown Partnership produces the Celebrate Mansfield Festival with the generous support of local businesses. The 2019 Platinum Sponsors are Barnes & Noble UConn, Gulemo Printers, Inc., The Oaks on the Square, and Price Chopper. The 2019 Gold Sponsors are the Town of Mansfield, UConn, E. O. Smith High School, Mansfield OB/GYN Associates, Nature’s Medicines, and WILI. And, the 2019 Silver Sponsors are Cipparone & Zaccaro; Design Center East; East Brook Animal Hospital; Graduate Storrs; Hartford HealthCare; Home Instead Senior Care; Kahan, Kerensky & Capossela, LLP; Karen E. Calef, DMD; LAZ Parking; Mooyah Burgers & Fries; People's United Bank; Renewal by Anderson; Saving's Institute, a
division of Berkshire Bank; SBM Charitable Foundation; Tony's Garage; UConn Foundation; and Wilcox & Reynolds. The Partnership thanks these businesses for their support of our community!
The Celebrate Mansfield Festival is free and open to everyone. For more information, including transportation options and road closures, please visit downtownstorrsfestival.org.