It's Derryfest time againBy CHRIS GAROFOLO
Union Leader Correspondent September 13. 2017 11:55PM
DERRY — The most beloved yearly festival is returning to MacGregor Park this weekend.
Now in its 28th year, Derryfest is an annual celebration of the town’s kinship as neighbors and features more than 130 vending booths, live entertainment and kid-friendly games throughout the daylong event.
“It’s a day full of great fun and a cooperative spirit,” said Mike Gendron, a trustee with the Greater Derry Arts Council and a lead organizer with the Derryfest Committee. He is a 12-year veteran of organizing the festival.
“It’s fun to be able to come out and actually see your neighbors instead of talking to them through an electronic device,” he added. “It’s a beautiful day full of entertainment and just great family fun.”
The event runs Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at MacGregor Park and typically draws between 7,000-10,000 people.
Vocalist Carol Harrington will follow the opening ceremonies, then performances from Karate International of Windham, the Red Star Twirlers and “Kindermusik” by Let’s Play Music will take place before a special memorial service by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 1617.
Also scheduled to appear on the main stage include the Kids Coop Theater, the New Hampshire Academie of Dance and the Voice Studio, as well as Dance Progressions and Let’s Play Music, a stagecraft.
The popular Wildlife Encounters animal show with its mini zoo will be set up during the day, as will Joe Tombarello of Silly Solutions, a balloon twisting artist performing a show at 1 p.m. and making balloon animals for children free of charge the rest of the afternoon.
Headlining the 2017 festival is the Blues Brothers Next Generation Show, a tribute band to the high-energy performances of the iconic Blues Brothers from “Saturday Night Live.” Organizers say the duo look and sound just like Jake and Elwood Blues, the characters made famous by Dan Aykroyd and the late John Belushi.
New to the event this year is a 24-foot mobile rock climbing wall. Gendron said it is the highlight of the games section, which also includes giant Connect-4 and Jenga games.
One of the newest, and unfortunately for most this year, exclusive events is “Derry After Dark,” a nighttime beer festival taking over Manning Street at the conclusion of Derryfest. The sold-out event, organized by Cask & Vine proprietor Andy Day, features more than 100 unique, local craft beers and live performances.
For those without tickets to the Derry After Dark, there are still a few pregame events available to residents.
St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, right across the street from MacGregor Park, will host its annual Derryfest breakfast beginning at 7 a.m. on Saturday. Donations will be accepted.
On Friday evening, the Derry Village Rotary will hold Pastafest beginning at 5 p.m. at the Gilbert H. Hood Middle School, located at 5 Hood Road. Following the pasta feast, residents may swing over to the finals of Greater Derry’s Got Talent from the Derry Opera House beginning at 7 p.m.
The winners will perform on Saturday around 12:40 p.m. for the full crowd.
For more information, residents may visit www.derryfest.org.