Pride in Manchester Week right around the corner

By Christian Mysliwiec - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Wed., May. 1, 2013
The Dancing Bear statue in Center Memorial Park serves as the perfect meet-up point before guests enjoy the annual Concert in the Park, which kicks off Pride Week. Courtesy photo. - Contributed Photo

The 22nd Pride in Manchester Week (June 1-8) is right around the corner, and the Pride in Manchester committee is putting the finishing touches on the four main events of the week, which will be complimented by many activities sponsored by organizations within the Manchester community.

Pride Week kicks off on Saturday, June 1, with the Joseph D. Negri Concert in the Park. The free event, held at Center Memorial Park, begins at 5 p.m. with an opening performance by the Shaded Soul Band, which plays music ranging from the '40s big bands to the top 40 of today. The main act begins at 7:30 p.m., featuring 1980s dance party band Orange Crush. They will perform until 9:30 p.m. Free parking is available behind Town Hall and in the municipal lot on Pearl Street, as well as on side streets.

The Senior Center at 549 East Middle Turnpike will hold a senior dance from 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, June 4, featuring live music by the Stan Scott Band. Young people are invited as well to learn a thing or two about dance steps. Refreshments will be served. Admission is free, but you will need a ticket to get in. Tickets are available at the senior center or the customer service area at Town Hall beginning in mid-May.

Thursday, June 6, marks the day of one of downtown Manchester's quintessential events. Strollin' on Main Street and Imagine Main Street in downtown Manchester will commence at 6 p.m. and run until 9. Take a horse-drawn wagonette to explore Main Street. Step off to sample restaurant specials or free ice cream (while it lasts), participate in a beer, wine and moonshine tasting, or drop in at First Niagara Bank for soft drinks and refreshments.

Imagine Main Street will celebrate its first anniversary featuring student art in store fronts, placing live bands throughout the downtown area and hosting a yoga event in Center Park. MCC on Main will showcase musicians from Manchester Community College, and the Manchester Garden Club and the Perennial Planters will feature garden displays. The Forest Street parking lot will become the temporary site of a dance and Zumba event, and the Mary Cheney Library will host family friendly events in the Children's Room from 6 to 9 p.m. The event is a collaboration between various town organizations, including the Imagine Main Street Committee, the Downtown Special Services District and First Niagara Bank.

The events of Pride Week all lead up to Heritage Day, held Saturday, June 8, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Start the day with music and coffee on the patio of Cheney Hall, located at 177 Hartford Road, for the welcome ceremonies. Manchester's Hometown Heroes will be honored with the Manchester Fire Department Honor Guard in attendance. Remarks will be given by Jason Scappaticci, board of education member and coordinator at the Office of Transitional Programs at Manchester Community College.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., there will be several things happening throughout town (with a free shuttle transporting guests to all sites from Cheney Hall). Volunteers from the Little Theatre of Manchester will give free tours of the historic Cheney Hall. Art created by young artists will be on display downstairs, courtesy of the Manchester Early Learning Center. Crafters and artisans will be selling their wares right outside in the Cheney Hall parking lot. 

At noon, there will be a walk on the Great Lawn led by Susan Barlow and Tom Ferguson of the Manchester Historical Society. The 75-minute tour, which gives guests a special opportunity to cross the private property and learn about the Cheney's and their homesteads, begins at 199 Forest St., the entrance to the Historical Society's Loom exhibit.

The South Manchester Arts, Recreation, History and Education group, or S.H.A.R.E., will host activities and events throughout the day within the 175-acre Cheney Landmark District.

There are many independently-sponsored events happening during Pride Week, as well. The Manchester Elks Lodge, located at 30 Bissell St., will hold a bike rodeo beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 1. On Monday, June 3, at 5:30 p.m., Ruth Shapleigh-Brown, executive director of the Connecticut Gravestone Network, and Barlowe will lead a tour of the Cheney Family Cemetery on East Center Street. St. Mary's Church, located at 41 Park St., will hold a Celtic Vespers at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 5. The candle-lit service will feature prayers and music from Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. Also on Wednesday is a golf tournament to benefit the Highland Park Market Families Foundation, with tee-times at 7 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Contact Molly Devanney for information at 860-646-4277. On Saturday, June 8, from noon to 5:30 p.m., the 39th Anniversary New England Fiddle Contest will be held at Center Memorial Park.

Entries from the Pride in Manchester Photo Contest will be displayed throughout town during Pride Week, and the winner will be announced on Heritage Day. The deadline for submitting photos is May 1, for more information, visit

Volunteers are still being sought to assist during the week. Those interested should contact Pride in Manchester Committee Chair Joyce Hodgson at 860-550-4584.

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