Students and community come together at the Celebrate Mansfield Festival

Mansfield Town Square was bustling with locals of all ages enjoying the live music and various tents organized at the 13th Annual Celebrate Mansfield festival Sunday afternoon.

The event opened with the Celebrate Mansfield Parade at noon, which set a joyful tone for the remainder of the day with the help of the UConn Marching Band.

Marchers in the parade included animals, puppets and representatives from local businesses and sports teams. Children, accompanied by their parents, were encouraged to participate in the parade as well.

Mansfield-based vendors and organizations attracted community members with their colorful posters and unique activities.

There was something for everyone at the festival. Children were able to play at countless tents and listen to the multiple children’s entertainment acts, including singers with the Kidsville Kuckoo Revue and Pete Haddad’s Hubba Bubba Magic Show.

Many local food businesses also participated in the event, offering some of their most popular foods and drinks.

One Mansfield business, Cloverleigh Farm, attracted people with their array of fresh, organic vegetables. The farm offers fall shares as a part of the Community Supported Agriculture program, which allows people around Mansfield to pick out fresh vegetables based on the season. Cloverleigh Farm offers discounts on shares to UConn students, according to farmer Hannah Bernardi.

The festival was eco-friendly, with only compostable plates, forks and knives available. Volunteers from the Solid Waste Advisory Committee for the Town of Mansfield went around helping people learn about the differences between trash, recyclables and compostables.

“Our goal is to reduce waste,” Rita Kornblum, a volunteer, said. “There are things that are compostable that people don’t really understand are compostable.”

Animals, sports teams and puppets were also big themes at the Celebrate Mansfield festival. Local animal shelters and groups were there to spread awareness about animals in need, and E.O. Smith high school and UConn athletes were set up to answer questions about their sports teams.

The Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry played a huge role on Sunday, offering Shakespearean-era entertainment as a part of UConn’s participation in the First Folio! Program. There were performances from Connecticut Repertory Theatre’s upcoming “King Lear” production, including dance demonstrations, a Shakespearean monologue slam performed with puppets and shadow puppet-making activities.

“We are hoping that this will help get puppetry out there and help show people exactly what puppetry is,” UConn third semester Chris Santos, who works at the Museum of Puppetry, said.

People took a break from browsing the tents and gathered around the main stage of the Jeffrey P. Ossen Family Foundation Pavilion to listen to the performances of indie pop rock group Bronze Radio Return Air Traffic Controller.


Sarah Maddox is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at sarah.maddox@uconn.edu.