September 19, 2010

Derryfest expands into downtown with farm market, art show

Alycia Leriche, left, and Ashleigh Gardner perform on the main stage at MacGregor Park during Derryfest 2010.

Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY – This year's annual Derryfest celebration spilled over from MacGregor Park onto the main drag, with the town-supported Farmers Market and an artists collective adding some community spirit – and foot traffic – to the downtown.
Also new this year was a Derry Rail Trail Move-A-thon, which encouraged people to test out the Derry Rail Trail – on foot or bike, another successful addition to the day of family fun, said Mary Watson, who was greeting trail blazers as they entered and exited the path.
Inside the park the stage was the center of activity, with a rotating ensemble of entertainment. Beyond that, there were bounce house, balloon animals, face painting and even some political campaigning – Republican gubernatorial candidate John Stephen and incumbent Democratic Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter were among those making the rounds.
Cynthia Sprints, left, and Rachel Bouche get their fried dough fix.
Cynthia Sprints and Rachel Bouche, both 13, were dousing their fried dough with thick layers of sugar and cinnamon before digging in.
“It's my first Derryfest,” said Bouche – it's cool. And fried dough is my favorite.”
Derry Parks and Rec Director Eric Bodenrader said the weather was a plus – not to hot and no sign of rain. He said even the annual free trolley rides were taking on new meaning this year.
“Normally it's more about aesthetics and entertainment, but this year the trolley is actually useful, taking people down to the farmers market and back,” said Bodenrader.
Also adding some buzz to the day was the arrival of new Town Administrator John Anderson, who officially starts work Oct. 25. He said he was in town anyway to check on the house he's buying – hoping to make settlement Oct. 7. He stood for a while talking with town Councilors Joel Olbricht and Neil Wetherbee.
“It's terrific,” said Anderson. “It's a beautiful day and a great event.”
About 35 artists assembled their wares along the sidewalk next to the farmers market on West Broadway, and while they were not officially sanctioned by the town as part of Derryfest, there was a lot of interest in the artwork, said Aimee Cozza of Derry, a New Hampshire Institute of Art student who organized the event.
Marylee Martin, left, and Aimee Cozza set up the art show on West Broadway.
She cooperated with Marilee Martin, owner of Poles Apart Artisan Boutique, to get a permit to use the sidewalk in front of her store and to help promote the event.
“People are having a good time looking around. It's good exposure,” said Cozza, who was happy to see people getting off the trolley and heading over to look at the art on display.
“Everyone is saying we should have it again next year – I think we'll wait and see how this year goes,” Cozza said.

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