July is for Jazz and Willimantic’s 3rd Thursday Street Fests will have you dancing in streets to wonderful jazz tunes, as well as a wide variety of other musical styles.
Like Bluegrass, for instance. At the First Baptist Church, you’ll hear The Power Mountain Band playing classic Hymns and Spirituals in the Bluegrass style. Those harmonies will send a chill down your spine. Or for something completely different, check out Dead Romeo’s ambient experimental sounds near the Footbridge. That’s also where you’ll hear your first bit of sax, as Derek Joly and Seed show off their original Progressive Funk at their dance party in the street.
Or, you might head right to the Beer and Wine Garden for a mug of locally micro-brewed beer and get a front row seat to hear The Brazilian Jazz Project play Brazilian Music in a variety of rhythms. Brazilian Jazz = Romance. That should put you right in the mood for a sampling of Egyptian belly dancing with Nasira. Grab a Samosa to eat and come back to hear The Mike Casey Jazz Trio, featuring the very talented local saxaphonist Mike Casey mixing it up with standards and original tunes.
Ooops. Did we lose you when you went to eat some of the delicious authentic ethnic international cooking, including Mexican, Syrian, Puerto Rican, Irish, and Indian foods that are featured at the fest? While you get your empanadas, you may hear Ben the Sax Guy a 32 year-old indie solo artist who loops many instruments to create his original “lo-fi guttah funk.” Sit and eat on Bank Street for a spell, and watch Noelle Smith, a 13 year old talented singer/songwriter who just released her first all-original CD!
Then grab a Hosmer root beer float, ‘cause you have some serious dancing ahead of you and you’ll need your energy. Finish your evening with Shakedown playing Grateful Dead and similar dance music, extended Jams and more jams. They will be in the courtyard between Kerri’s Gallery and Lady Chatelaine’s.
But the Fests aren’t just for old folks, oh no. Like the music, the Fest has entertainment for a wide variety of ages. For the youngest, you’ll find Johnnie’s games on the grass by Jillson Square this month. Johnnie provides a delightful and quiet space for even the youngest children to enjoy the fest. The always popular Bounce Room, donated by Bounce-A-Rama, will be near Liberty Bank. Josh Metell’s hoops are run by members of the Harvest Light Church and Ollie’s Rock Climbing Wall also challenges the teens. Look for locally made duct-tape hair bows and wallets near the Hip Hop DJ at J.S.Stylez, who has every teen in town dancing in the street.
Willimantic’s 3rd Thursday Street Fests also feature an incredible assortment of Main Street Merchants and complimentary vendors for those who prefer to not dance all night. Who doesn’t like jewelry? Beaded, metal, make-your-own and chainmaille jewelry, toe rings and in the Stores, locally crafted fine jewelry will provide a shopping experience for any taste. Or, we have many styles of clothing, including shirts and bags that are hand-crafted in Willimantic, or t-shirts, shoes, accessories, sunglasses. Health and beauty aids, fair trade coffee, art, handicrafts, skateboards, bikes and instruments: be prepared to gift shop for yourself and for friends. Look at the website to see the complete list of vendors and merchants so you can plan your night.
Willimantic’s 3rd Thursday Street Fests attract thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds, laughing and dancing in the streets together. Our secret formula is: great food, great music and great shopping.
All this is packed into 3 hours on a Thursday night. You won’t want to miss a minute of the fun: July 18th from 6-9 pm. The Festival and Parking are Free. For info: 860.450.0918, but it’s all at: www.WillimanticStreetFest.com