3rd Thursday Street Fest
DATE: September 19, 2013
TIME: 6-9 PM
LOCATION: Historic Downtown Willimantic
At the 3rd Thursday Street Fests, Willimantic’s streets are filled with authentic ethnic foods; unique merchants, vendors and crafters; locally crafted beer, soda and ice cream; and 8,000 smiling faces. With performances on 6 stages, you’re sure to find “your kind” of music, and something new. The Fests are a great place to shop for unique gifts, or for yourself.
With so much to do, where do you start? Here’s “A Guide on How to ‘Do the Fest’” from Uptown to Way Downtown and back.
As you walk into the Fest at 6pm (this is going to be 3 full hours of fun), you’ll be entertained by students from the Arts Magnet School performing hip hop and other dances. Go right to the Kerri Gallery at 861 Main and buy a nice, big, and very sturdy reusable bag decorated with Kerri’s art. Now you’re ready to start.
Walk across the street to Swift Waters and shop among hand crafted goods, with the artists as your hosts. Decorate your walls with fine art, buy some yarn, jewelry, men’s and women’s clothing, pottery, so much more, and all locally made. This will be a great place to do your holiday shopping, won’t it? You’ll be back another day…
But now you’re hungry! You’re surrounded by 3 great choices for authentic Hispanic foods: Garo’s Place, Panaderia del Sinai, and Iglesia Bautista. Sample and share with friends, but don’t fill up, because there’s more to come, and you’ve really just begun.
Shop among great vendors, lining both sides of the street, as you head towards more music and food. Beaded jewelry, custom-made lockets, clothing, custom fit toe-rings. Interspersed are local organizations—learn about the Windham community—we have so much to offer.
You’ve got lots more choices in the Bank St Food Court: empanadas, falafel, matter paneer, tacos and more. Maybe pizza or a foot-long hot dog is more your style? Wash it down with Willimantic’s own Hosmer Soda. Meet up with friends at a table on Bank Street and watch the Mansfield Academy of Dance while you fill your belly.
Or, bring your food with you to the Midtown Stage to catch Humble Patients. Regulars at Pub 32 in Mansfield, they just won the Foxwoods Battle of the Bands. Dance off that huge meal, and when they break, you’ll be ready to stroll and shop some more.
Walk across the street to check out the BENCH SHOP, where you’ll find handmade jewelry, cards, and other vitals. Heading down the street, be sure to check out the Skate Shop at 754 Main to learn about the best skateboard park in New England—it’s right here in Willimantic. Turn around and you are in front of the Windham Idol Stage, and if you moved quickly enough, you’ll get to see the winner of the finals. Behind the stage is a skate/bike ramp/demo, so check out what Burn’s BMX has to offer on North St.
Next you’ll be drawn to the Downtown Stage to hear the Dirk Quinn Band’s jazz/funk/improv with great guitar work. Listen while you browse. Buy another bag, you’re going to need it to fill with: nail polish, color and cosmetics, soap, shampoo, sunglasses. Enough shopping? Decorate yourself with henna body art, or throw a few hoops at the free basketball contest, courtesy of the Josh Metell 3 on 3 Classic. There’s a bounce room and other children’s activities in this area, and throughout the fest.
There’s still one more stage, and Patty Tuite and Bluestream will have you dancing again, this time to the Blues. That’s how you’ll make room for dessert. Dance while you browse handicrafts from Bali, candles, and pick up a pound of coffee.
It’s time to head back up the street so you can catch the second set at the stages! Better stop for Hosmer Soda, ice-cream floats, cupcakes, or hand-made Ra Ra’s Ice Cream for a sugar fix to keep you moving.
As you walk up the street in Midtown, you’ll find handmade Chainmaille, stone, wire, and high-fashion jewelry. Pick up a pound of specialty fair trade coffee, or get your fortune told. We have artists here, too– you’ll want a hand painted slate or artists’ prints.
Stop in the Beer and Wine Garden at the Midtown Stage to dance to Moto, a reggae soca party band, and try a hand-crafted beer. Or, you might want to get to Bank Street for a soda and enjoy Bruce John and the Eagleville Band mixing country, blues, folk, rock and roll. There’s something for every taste at the Street Fest.
It’s getting a little dark now, and the vendors are starting to close up. But the music and dancing in the street goes on ‘til 9. Your final stop for tonight is in People’s Park, next to Kerri’s Gallery, where Lisa Rich and Friends will rock you until 9. Then it’s time to wander back home; happy, full, and exhausted. Gotta have more? There will be food, drinks and music in many of the downtown restaurants and bars.
All this is packed into 3 hours on a Thursday night. You won’t want to miss a minute of the fun: September 19th from 6-9 pm. This is the last Fest of the season, so be sure to buy everything you want from the vendors or you’ll have to wait until May. The Festival and Parking are Free, but buying a button at the Info booth shows your support. For info: 860.450.0918, but it’s all at: www.WillimanticStreetFest.com