The Hippo


Jun 18, 2019








An aerialist performs during last year’s Midsummer Night Magic. Janette Sprague Photography.

Midsummer Night Magic

When: Friday, June 20, at 5 p.m. (the parade leaves at 6 p.m.)
Where: Downtown Main Street, Concord
Contact: 568-5740 or

Creative community
Midsummer Night Magic celebrates the arts


 Byron Champlin was surfing Facebook when he happened upon a video that a former co-worker had posted of the Portsmouth Halloween Parade. He wished that his city had something that participatory, and the seeds of Concord’s Midsummer Night Magic were planted. The event has since sprouted to include a parade, a live theater production, a movie screening and plenty of artistic activities.

“Part of my reason for wanting to create this kind of event was to help strengthen the sense of community in Concord by creating something where everyone can participate,” said Champlin, the founding chairman of Creative Concord. “I wanted to build something that was uniquely Concord, for it to be creative and participatory.”
The idea drew an immediate response from Jessica Fogg, an event planner who was given the reins to organize Midsummer Night Magic.
“I opened my big mouth and said, ‘Let’s do it’,” she said. “Next thing I knew, I was asked to bring a parade-type event to Concord. But not your typical parade. Something to really highlight the artistic community we have here.”
Midsummer Night Magic marks its third anniversary on Friday, June 20. As in previous years, the streets of downtown Concord will be blocked off for a night of local arts and community.
“As we started planning, we realized that Stephanie [Zinser] from True Brew Barista was already trying to plan a merchants-type event,” said Fogg. “We also learned that the multi-cultural festival was happening around the same time that we would have liked to plan the festival, so we decided to join forces.”
Zinser said Fogg’s proposal came at the perfect time.
“[Jessica and I] were talking about doing this event that I was having a hard time getting people on board for,” said Zinser, who is the co-owner of True Brew Barista. “We knew we wanted to have a creative parade, a parade of the people.”
Through word-of-mouth promotion and creating what Fogg referred to as a “heavy Facebook presence,” she, Zinser and the members of Creative Concord, a committee of the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce,  were able to attract local businesses, sponsors and community members to, literally, join the parade.
Every year the parade includes a variety of acts, including the Kazoophony orchestrated by the Concord Community Music School, the No Monkey Business “Who Let The Dogs Out” Costumed Dog Posse, Roller Derby Girls and anyone who wants to dress up or bring a recycled object as a percussion piece. 
Champlin said everyone in the community is encouraged to participate.
“I’m certainly looking forward to marching in the Kazoophony, which my wife and I have done for the past two years,” Champlin said. “A core group gathers an hour or so before the parade at Concord Community Music School, where they provide instructions and kazoos.”
Before, during and after the parade, the event features a variety of artistic activities including mask-making with the Kimball Jenkins School of Art, a photo booth provided by Cowabunga’s of Hooksett and Janelle Sprague Photography, and loads of local artists and buskers flooding the streets with music and original art. The event will also feature a new community art project called Mosaic 250, a series of mosaics created by the citizens of Concord that will be displayed all over the city’s downtown area.
In the time gap between the end of the parade and the beginning of the movie feature sponsored by Red River Theatres — this year a screening of The Neverending Story — the Community Players of Concord will present A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
“I’m really looking forward to the … production,” Champlin said. “There is nothing like seeing live theater.”
The city’s recently extracted time capsule from 1965 will be on display in the lobby of the Merrimack County Savings Bank until 6 p.m., just before the parade starts. Other businesses will also be featuring special events including a CD release party for the Concord-based Dusty Gray Band at True Brew Barista.
“If you ask anybody, they would say that years ago Concord was in a coma,” Fogg said. “But in the last couple years there’s been a great momentum of events happening, and we want to keep that momentum going. We’ve got three goals in mind for this event: we wanted merchant participation, to highlight the artists and the art organizations and to just bring the community together.” 
As seen in the June 19, 2014 issue of the Hippo.

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