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If you're looking for something different about this year's East Haven Fall Festival, you probably won't find it. One reason the event is so successful year after year is that it has provided the same type of entertainment, food, and fun for more than two decades. Now, in its 22nd year, that isn't about to change.
"It's been a success for 22 years. There is little we need to do differently," said Robert Limoncelli, president of the East Haven Fall Festival. "There is very little we can do better."
This year's festival will take place on Friday, Sept. 6; Saturday, Sept. 7; and Sunday, Sept. 8 on the East Haven Town Green. The festival will kick off on Friday at 6 p.m. It opens at noon on both Saturday and Sunday.
The festival is hosted by East Haven Fall Festival, Inc., in cooperation with Mayor Joseph Maturo, Jr.'s, office and the East Haven Chamber of Commerce.
"It's a great family event," said Frank Gentilesco, East Haven's assistant director of administration and management. "It's got something for everyone."
The Bronx Wanderers will return for a second consecutive year as the festival's musical entertainment on Friday night. On Saturday night, Gary Puckett and the Union Gap is scheduled to perform.
On Saturday afternoon, the East Haven High School Yellow Jacket Marching Band will perform. Other Saturday performances will include those by The Sin Sisters and Prime Time.
The music continues on Sunday afternoon with Sonido Libre, Jim Lawson's Big Band, and The Magic of Motown featuring The Souled Out Orchestra.
A Business Showcase will be open in the Corporate Hospitality Tent on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. A craft area will showcase a group of local artisans.
The Teen Corner will feature activities for young people, including a bungee run, as well as a DJ on Friday and laser tag on Saturday. The Teen Corner will be open on Friday and Saturday from 6 to 10:30 p.m.
The festival will feature carnival rides for the younger kids. Limoncelli said the East Haven Fire Department will bring one or two trucks so children can sit inside them.
Plenty of different food options will also be available for festival-goers. The menus offered by food vendors include hamburgers, hot dogs, fish and chips, buffalo wings, fried dough, kettle corn, and ice cream.
Limoncelli said the festival's information booth will sell soda, water, and coffee for $1 each. Soda was donated by Foxon Park, and water was donated by ShopRite, which will open a new store in East Haven this fall.
A new booth at the festival this year will provide pre- and post-disaster information for residents. Information from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection will be available, and residents will be able to learn about flood insurance programs.
A car show is scheduled for Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The show is open to all cars, with trophies presented at 3 p.m. There is an entrance fee of $10 per car and no spectator fee.
Overall, festival officials expect another successful event. Limoncelli said he was pleased by the amount of financial support the festival received from local businesses.
"We need to raise a significant amount of money to put on this event," said Limoncelli. "Most of it comes from businesses in town."
Although many businesses donated to this summer's fireworks display at the town beach, Limoncelli said, they were still generous in their support of the festival.
"The business community has shown tremendous generosity," said Gentilesco. "We're still in a bad economy, and they always come to the plate."
Gentilesco said there were many new donors, as well as businesses who donate every year.
The festival weekend will begin a bit early with the presentation of the 2013 Merit Awards on Thursday, Sept. 5 at 6 p.m. at the Country House Restaurant. Award winners are Amy Derbacher; Janet and Peter Cianelli; and Janice and Tony Romano.