Manchester celebrates its Past, Present & Future with an Open-Air Trolley & More

Although the Past, Present & Future art exhibits will be up for most of April & May, if you want free trolley transportation between them and other special Bicentennial events, you’ll have to come to Downtown Manchester on May 13th.

Extending the hours for their monthly 2nd Saturday Open House, Main Street Manchester and surrounding areas invite you to a full day of events, most accessible by the Open-Air Trolley on loan from CT’s River Valley Transit.

In celebration of Manchester’s Bicentennial, a 3-venue art exhibit called 300 Years of Manchester was co-created by the Manchester Historical Society, exhibiting THE PAST (175 Pine St., the Lutz Children’s Museum, showcasing Manchester Elementary Students’ artwork representing THE PRESENT (247 S. Main. St., and WORK_SPACE’s Main Street Gallery presenting The Future, an exhibit of CT artists envisioning the next 100 years of The Future (903 Main Street culture/). To encourage people to visit all three art shows, a trolley was added to provide free transportation between venues. Soon, other businesses and local organizations jumped on board and now visitors will have a plethora of offerings and activities to choose from including the Downtown Manchester Special Services District’s annual Butterfly Stroll, 30+ artisan vendors at The Firestone Art Studio & Café’s 1115 Market, special activities planned in Center Memorial and Charter Oak Parks, and live music provide by Imagine Main St. and the CT Songwriters Association at multiple venues including Trolley Stops.

Dr. Stacey Zackin, who grew up in Manchester and is now the Manager of WORK_SPACE, the town’s Coworking, Meeting & Gallery space says, “I’ve always heard how wonderful it was when a trolley was a regular part of Main Street, which was lined with ‘mom & pop’ shops and restaurants.” Once again Main Street is home to many wonderful locally owned small businesses, from Harvest Beads, open for 4 decades, and Silk City Antiques which is celebrating 20 years in business, to Retro Junk and Dragon’s Den Tattoo & Art Gallery, which opened in 2019 and 2021 respectively. Zackin is elated that “people seem really excited that we are incorporating something so nostalgic while Manchester is in the midst of a major Downtown revitalization that will move us towards the future.”

Visitors can park for free all around Downtown and hop on and off the trolley at 11 different locations. For details about May 13th as well as other Bicentennial events throughout the year visit



Stacey Zackin, Manager, WORK_SPACE, Direct #: 860.647.6022, [email protected]

Chris Silver, Director, Dept. of Family, Leisure & Recreation #860.647.3086, [email protected]

Bernie LeBel, Downtown Manager, Downtown Special Services District, 860.647.5276, [email protected]


Partial List of 2nd Saturday Bicentennial Events in Manchester on Saturday, May 13th accessible by Trolley


Reflect, Celebrate, Dream in Center Memorial Park (624-638 Main St)

9a Yoga

9a-2p Dudes Donuts

10a-1p Community Drumming

10a-2p Display of 1998 Time Capsule & Create Your Own Time Capsule Story Station | Manchester Garden Club’s

200 Tree (seedling) give-away | Live Music | Adirondack Painted Chair Project

11a-12p Sharing of poems, letters, and art for the bicentennial time capsule

11a-2p FunZone Inflatables | Bocce with UNICO | Street Games | Youth Bureau Open House (63 Linden St)

12p Concert in the Park with Town Troubadour Bill Ludwig, Finn Rowan, Illing Singers, MHS Roundtable & More


Charter Oak Park 50 (Charter Oak St)

10a-3p The Elks host the ‘Safe Kids’ program for youth under 14. Hoop Shoot, Soccer Shoot & National Free Throw

Program for ages 8-13


Open Houses

10a-4p Manchester Historical Society

10a-4p Lutz Children’s Museum


12p-3p Cheney Hall, Cheney Homestead

12p-4p Old Manchester Fire Museum


300 Hundred years of Manchester – 3 Venue Art Exhibit

Historical Society: THE PAST

Lutz Children’s Museum: THE PRESENT



Butterfly Stroll & Art Tour along Main St.

10a-4p Family Friendly Activities in the Forest Street parking lot with Downtown sponsors and Non-Profit friends

12p-4p Little Bird Clay Co. (29 Bissell St) Pottery Show/Sale of artists ages 10-17

10a-4p $3 butterfly facepainting at Frog & Fable and free butterfly craft at Downtown Roots in the Manchester Mall (811 Main St)

10a-4p The Market 1115 at The Firestone Art Studio & Café with 30+ local vendors (1115 Main St)

10a-4p CAST Children’s Theatre hosts costumed photo stop at WORK_SPACE to have your picture taken with

characters from Frozen, Peter Pan and Seussical and a few costumes to try on.


Urban Lodge (47 Purnell Place)

12p-11p $5 Pints of 1823 Bicentennial Brew

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