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Wild things at the park
Intown Manchester hosts Family Fest

08/20/15
By Angie Sykeny asykeny@hippopress.com



 Things are going to get a little wild at Intown Manchester’s Family Fest on Saturday, Aug. 22, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Veterans Park. This year’s theme is Where the Wild Things Are, based on the classic children’s book. The fest will have live performances, kids activities, snacks and more.

The event got its start three years ago as a kids portion to a larger event held at Gill Stadium. It was so successful, Intown decided to expand on the idea.
“I was surprised to learn that there weren’t a lot of activities like this in Manchester,” Sara Beaudry, Intown executive director, said, “so we turned it into Family Fest and held it at the park [with the theme] Princesses and Pirates, and the turnout was amazing. Fifteen hundred people showed.”
More than two dozen businesses will have tables at the event with free activities for kids, including face painting, nail painting, crafts, balloon animals, a bean bag toss, a putting green, a bouncy house, basketball shots and more.
First up on stage will be Lil’ Iguana’s Children’s Safety Foundation giving a presentation for kids about stranger danger and staying safe. Children’s musician Ben Rudnick and Friends, who Beaudry said was a huge hit at last year’s fest, will return this year to play a morning and afternoon concert. Finally, dancers from Dimensions in Dance will give a wild morning and afternoon performance. 
“We are doing an original performance of Maurice Sendak’s book Where the Wild Things Are with choreography and narration,” Amy Fortier, Dimensions’ artistic director, said. “My dancers are enjoying the Wild Rumpus the best, which is to tribal drumming music and features a lot of acrobatics and energetic jumping. They have also been making up some of their own wild thing choreography. Very interesting to say the least.”
To give the park a more wild feel, downtown businesses and local artists created wild thing silhouette cutouts for the event.
“It’s just one of those loved stories,” Beaudry said. “We thought it’d be a fun theme because so many kids are familiar with the story, and with the fest being at an outdoor venue, it’s a perfect tie-in.”
Family Fest is the final big event of Intown’s 2015 Summer Fest series. Beaudry said the idea behind the fest was to provide a fun day for families that doesn’t drain the bank, to bring the community together and to highlight Manchester’s downtown parks. Even if you don’t have kids, she said, it’s a great day to grab lunch and chill out in the park.
“We have some of the most beautiful parks in downtown Manchester, and we want to use them,” she said. “We encourage people to come down, bring blankets and chairs, bring a picnic and create a space for themselves and take it all in.” 
 
As seen in the August 20th 2015 issue of the Hippo. 
 





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