Hundreds of residents took to the streets on Saturady, Sept. 16 to attend the 28th annual Derryfest at MacGregor Park. The event brought together just about every local organization and business to once again create a day that anyone around could enjoy.
Starting at 10 a.m., Mark Beland of the Greater Derry Arts Council began the day by thanking everyone who attended the event for making all the hard work worth it.
“It’s a labor of love for all those who came together to make it possible,” Beland noted.
Town Council Chairman Joshua Borudon soon followed by thanking the event’s volunteers and issuing a proclamation recognizing what Derryfest means to the town and its citizens before being followed up by the Let’s Play Music A Cappella Group singing the Star-Spangled Banner.
“These volunteers are a true testament to our town’s community and positive spirit,” Bourdon said.
The main stage saw a huge amount of talent and entertainment for attendees, as vocalists Carol Harrington, Morgane Grace Vigroux and members of the Voice Studio sang a wide assortment of songs, while groups like the Red Star Twirlers, the New Hampshire Academie of Dance and Dance Progressions put on their dancing shoes.
Several entertainers sought to break away from the norm and showcased several other demonstrations for the crowd, whether it was martial arts demonstration from Karate International of Windham, a balloon show from Silly Solutions, an animal presentation from Wildlife Encounters or quick displays from the finalists and winners of Greater Derry’s Got Talent.
Being right next to the MacGregor war monuments, members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1617 held a MIA/POW ceremony at noon to honor those who are still unaccounted for while serving their country.
Finally, to cap off the day’s events, the Blues Brothers Next Generation performed numerous renditions of songs designed to pay tribute to the classic 1980’s film Blues Brothers.
The main stage was far from the only thing that would catch the eyes of attendees that day. Churches like the Calvary Bible Church, Central Congregational Church and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held tables to spread information about their churches and the good they try to do for their community, while Crossfit and massage therapy were advertised to those interested.
Attendees also got to see Derry’s more artistic side with sand art, figurines and bead necklaces on sale, as well as bird houses being sold to help benefit the Jimmy Fund.
Visitors could get more up close and personal with some activities, including a rock climbing wall, several cornhole stations manned by the Boy Scouts and turtles and pigs roaming the grounds that were brought by Wildlife Encounters. Furthermore, the Derry Police Department brought what they referred to as The Convincer, a mechanism designed to simulate the effects of a head-on collision into a solid object at around ten miles per hours, all to convince users why using their seatbelts is so important.
Of course, festival food as far as the eye could see was there for attendees to sample, from fried pickles to delicious seafood from the Clam Haven.
All in all, this year’s Derryfest seemed just as fantastic as the year’s before and will no doubt lead to even more great events in the future.