Derryfest Planning on Schedule for Sept. 19 Event

The rumors of the death of Derryfest, the town’s premiere fall celebration, have been greatly exaggerated.

The festival will go on as planned Sept. 19, after a new crop of volunteers has been cultivated by seasoned organizers.

Jodi Nelson, a new volunteer and part of the publicity team, said last week that she has been working with former Chair Michael Gendron, Jenn Lague and Bea Shay on the sponsorship and publicity team.

At their last meeting, Nelson said, the group had 55 vendors committed, and “they’re still coming in. It’s not the largest they’ve ever had, but it’s up there.”

And “up there” is good for a group and event that faced possible extinction this past spring. Gendron and his team announced that they were canceling Derryfest 2015 after Parks and Recreation Director Eric Bodenrader said he could no longer provide town help and resources, due to budget cuts in overtime.

Gendron and his team, facing their own reduction in force due to several volunteer retirements, announced that they were taking a year off to regroup. But they didn’t have to, with a volunteer information meeting providing enough new blood for the show to go on.

“The sponsorships are at an excellent level,” Nelson reported, referring to businesses and organizations helping with financial support. “Some have pledged to give even more than our highest level.”

The community organizations are reserving their spots and the entertainment slate is filling up, Nelson said. Entertainment will include The Blues Brothers, Next Generation as headliners; the Belaires, a doo-wop group; Granite State Zoo; the Red Star Twirlers, Kids Coop Theatre and the top winners of Derry’s Got Talent, held the night before the fair.

“We still have some openings if anyone wants to try out,” Nelson said.

Many community members have stepped up and asked if they could volunteer the day of the festival, and while most of the work is done in advance, Nelson said, “If you show up, we’re not going to dissuade you.”

And for those who like their lunch deep-fried or on a stick, there will be plenty of “fair food” in different food booths, Nelson said.

Other events associated with the festival include:

• Friday, Sept. 18, 5:30-7:30 p.m.: Spaghetti supper sponsored by Rotary, Gilbert H. Hood Middle School.

• Friday, Sept. 18, 7 p.m. “Derry’s Got Talent,” Derry Opera House

• Saturday, Sept. 19, 7 to 10 a.m., pancake breakfast, St. Luke’s United Methodist Church.

In addition, the Veterans of Foreign Wars will hold their annual POW/MIA (Prisoner of War/Missing In Action) vigil at the war monument.

Sponsorships are $600, full sponsor ($500 for repeat full sponsors); $350, co-sponsors; and $150, patron sponsors.

Booth fees are $150, political; $90, commercial; $50, craft vendors; and $25, nonprofits.

Derryfest will be Saturday, Sept. 19, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at MacGregor Park. For more information, visit