September Event Spotlight

The Town of Manchester’s Department of Leisure, Family and Recreation has played host to a variety of Bicentennial events throughout the year, including Reflect, Celebrate, Dream in the Park (May 13th), the Juneteenth Freedom Day Commemoration (June 18th) and the Spruce Street Farmers Market. 

But the Department of Leisure, Family and Recreation isn’t slowing down – this September will see two more large scale community events: the Hispanic Heritage Day Celebration and Lights in the Sky – A Drone Show Event.

The Town of Manchester’s annual Hispanic Heritage Day Celebration will be held on Saturday, September 16th from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM at the Leisure Labs at Mahoney Center, 110 Cedar Street, with activities including music, dancing, food vendors, a cultural market & more.

This year’s celebration, co-hosted by the Manchester Latino Affairs Council and the Town of Manchester’s Department of Leisure, Family and Recreation, aims to celebrate the local & regional Hispanic community and invites all to join together in an afternoon of unity. Hosted on the first floor of the recently-revamped Leisure Labs at Mahoney Center, the event will play host to a robust slate of vendors, including:

Vendor Market:

  • Mejora Inc. 

  • Interval House

  • The Art Child

  • Emaly’s Crystals

  • Mending Hearts

  • A Clay Zone

  • Access Health

  • Henna by Anil

  • Felix N’ Fancy

  • Serenity I Care

  • Student Loan Fund

  • CICD Puerto Rican Parade Queens and Princesses

  • Kai and Ken Sensory Boards

  • CRT (Community Renewal Team)

  • BTTI (CT Building Trades Training Institute)

  • NAFI CT, Inc. (North American Family Institute)

  • Manchester Public Library

  • Adult and Continuing Education

Food Vendors (Additional Vendors TBA):

  • Thomas’ Smokey Pit Stop

  • Kona Ice

Hispanic Heritage has been federally recognized since 1968, when President Lyndon B. Johnson established Hispanic Heritage Week. Later, on August 17th, 1988, President Ronal Reagan officially marked September 15th through October 15th as Hispanic Heritage Month under Public Law 100-402.

While these national recognitions are significant, not only for their cultural value but for their displayed levels of commitment from the highest forms of governmental leadership, celebrations should not be limited to set days each year. Whether it is Hispanic Heritage Month, Black History Month, Pride Month or any other marked recognition, we should not be beholden to dates on the calendar to recognize and celebrate the diverse populations that make our local, regional and national communities what they are today.

“But Hispanic Heritage Month is a chance for the country to acknowledge not only the rich history of its diverse Hispanic communities, but who they are today, said Felix Sanchez, chairman of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts,” Dakin Andone of CNN wrote. “The 2020 US Census showed that Hispanics and Latinos make up a fast-growing, multiracial group: In 2020, 62.1 million people identified as Hispanic or Latino – 18% of the US population.”

For further information on the Hispanic Heritage Day Celebration, please contact Interim Recreation Supervisor James Costa at [email protected].

The following Friday, head across town for a first-of-its-kind event that will celebrate the vibrant history and community of the Town of Manchester – the Lights in the Sky Drone Show and the premiere of The Living History Project documentary.

Lights in the Sky will be held on Friday, September 22 from 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM at Northwest Park, 448 Tolland Turnpike (Rain Date: Saturday, September 23). The event includes a slate of family activities, including: 

Family Event & Activities (5:00 PM – 8:00 PM):

  • Live Music

  • Food Trucks & Market Vendors

  • Creative Zone

  • 1998 Time Capsule Display

  • Pups in the Park Display

  • Tiny Gallery Exhibit

Closing Festivities (8:00 PM – 9:00 PM):

  • The Living History Project Documentary Premiere

  • Lights in the Sky Drone Show

The Living History Project, created by Zack Carroll in collaboration with the Town of Manchester, is a documentary that showcases both the Manchester community and its history. The project “is an effort to collect stories from the people that have experienced life in Manchester…There is no story too big or too small. The preservation of your memories plays a crucial role in creating history”. Click here to view the trailer for The Living History Project

The current slate of food & market vendors includes:

  • Food Trucks:

    • Hungry Lion (gluten-free)

    • Lobster Tales

    • Square Peg Pizzeria

  • Food Tents:

    • Bob’s Jerky for a Cause

    • Likkle Patty Shop by Amazing Ackee (vegan)

    • The Ital Juicery Co.

  • Market Vendors:

    • Allard Family Farm

    • A Clay Zone

    • AJ Artist


    • Black Cat White Dog Farm

    • CANDLE Collab

    • Chef Kim Dishes, Spices and More

    • Henna by Humi

    • Key Key Kreations

    • Miss Cutie Pie’s Dog Treats

    • MP Mountainworks

    • Ovelle Coffee

    • Wilkinson Farm

For further information on Lights in the Sky, please contact the Recreation Division at (860)647-3084 or visit the event’s website.

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