The 19th Annual Celebrate Mansfield Festival took place on Saturday, Sept. 24, and it was one for the books! Free and open to the public, this festival was a great way to celebrate the beginning of a new season with friends and family, for folks of all ages.
One of Mansfield’s most loved traditions, the festival is an opportunity for local vendors, artists and small businesses to promote their products among thousands of resident and non-resident families that visit the town.
This year was no exception; Downtown Storrs was packed with booths that offered a variety of crafts, activities, foods and freebies. Families had the opportunity to put their creative skills to work by making origami birds with recyclable materials, putting together their own solar vehicle with E.O. Smith’s Science Club or building the highest Pringle tower to win a prize.
Many of the town’s public service departments like the police department, Mansfield’s Community Center for Fitness and Recreation, Mansfield’s Public Library, Academy of Dance and even Mansfield’s Bike Club offered an opportunity for everyone to join their team. They also incorporated trivia and spin-the-wheel games for a chance to win special prizes. From swag like water bottles, pens, caps, t-shirts and tote bags to a dessert from Blaze Pizza or a warm cookie from the famous Insomnia Cookies, there was something for everyone.
Families and enthusiastic future teachers like myself, had the opportunity to meet and chat with children’s author Christine Ieronimo and recieve free signed copies of her books “Thirst for Home” and “The Purple Pail.” Other writers, including romance novelist Diana Rock, had their own booths where they could talk about their books and distribute free copies.
Local artists, crafters and makers were the stars of the day with booths featuring their handmade soaps, jewelry, lathe-turned bowls and pens, all-natural cleaning and home products, soy candles, hand-painted tote bags, crochet beanies, clay pins and many more.
Everyone had the chance to fuel up with a variety of food booths that included Maharajah Indian Fine Cuisine serving favorites like tikka masala and mango juice, UConn’s Food for Thought food truck with fresh-made burgers and fries, among others. Local businesses like Fluffy Muffin Mama Muffins gave the festival a sweet twist with their healthy variety of vegetable-infused muffins featuring seasonal flavors like pumpkin chocolate chip and vegan apple pie. UConn’s Dairy Barn ice cream truck also delighted festival-goers with their traditional ice cream cups and cones.