A mission for InTown
by Jody Reese
There are still piles of snow everywhere but spring is just around the corner.
This week’s 10th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade marks the beginning of Manchester’s festival season. On the way are Manchester’s jazz-and-blues festival, the Cruisin’ Downtown car show, Rock 101’s Sky Show, InTown’s summer music series, the Latin and Caribbean festival, the Taste of Downtown, the Mill City Festival and Glendi.
Manchester should be proud it has such a cadre of events, but we could use more of them.
InTown, a nonprofit city-booster group, is often criticized for being unfocused and overstaffed. Maybe this is a good job for them. InTown could use its skilled staff to put together even more quality festivals and events. It already does an excellent job with the Taste of Downtown and the group could program additional events throughout the summer.
A few years ago, the Hippo ran an outdoor movie series with the help of Merchants Automotive Group, the Boys and Girls Club and Singer Family Park staff. It was a lot of fun but, in the end, too much work for the Hippo’s staff. We did not attempt it the next year but something like it — bringing thousands of people out on warm summer nights — would be the perfect project for InTown.
Other events that the folks in the Hippo office dreamed up include: a barbecue festival, an ice cream-and-candy festival, a local- or silent-film festival, sports-themed events, an Adam Sandler festival (he might even show!), a youth performing arts day, a poutine cook-off, an Iron Chef-type lamprey cook-off (yum!), a Bob Dix art festival (he’s retiring soon), a college festival and, of course, Hippo Day. Neighborhood-based events on the West Side or up near Sommerville Street on the East Side would also be a lot of fun, and help bring recognition to those areas.
These type of events bring more than just money and business to the city. They make it a better place to live.
Something very nice has been taking place in Manchester over the past five years. Residents have taken it upon themselves to make Manchester the kind of city you can enjoy living in. You can see it everywhere, from the Manchester Young Professionals Association to the Manchester Sports Council. Manchester people are making Manchester an exciting place to live.
The city, though InTown, should take advantage of that enthusiasm and put together more events.
2005 HippoPress LLC | Manchester, NH