New London celebrates 38th Sailfest Friday through Sunday

You always hear from locals when they're headed out of town to attend some big festival or another. "Going to New Orleans for Mardi Gras!" "Hey, you headed to Carnival in Rio again this year?" "Flying down to Mexico City for Dia de Los Muertos. Wanna go?" "Can't wait for Burning Man!"

Okay, not so much the Burning Man weirdness.

But what shouldn't be forgotten in all of this "Fun with a Capital F" is New London's own Sailfest. It's true. As I type this, on at least five on the world's seven continents, folks are packing their bags to head to The 06320 to luxuriate Friday through Sunday in the greatness of New London's Sailfest.

Reflecting the multicultural heritage of our city, the 38th annual Sailfest genuinely offers pretty much something for everyone — and, of course, on Saturday evening, the whole world flickers and glows in the glorious visual onslaught of the Mashantucket Pequot Fireworks Extravaganza.

In addition, there's a full carnival and over 250 vendors. In the all-important food context, search out new options like Chompers (crunch balls of ground beef, bacon and cheese), Canadian gravy and cheese curds over potatoes, and a waffle ice cream sandwich. The fact that New London's thriving restaurant scene will be in action also makes the weekend particularly attractive — not to mention the area shops and historical landmarks.

Also going on: two tall ships in the harbor — sail or tour or both! — and enjoy live music on four stages featuring local and touring artists and DJs throwing down funk, Latin, rock, pop and country. See the complete schedule on this page, and here are some recommendations.

On Friday on the Custom House Stage, Chicago-based funk-rock group The Main Squeeze (9 p.m.) is excellent, and so is the U.S. Coast Guard Band (6 p.m.). Not to be missed on the Hygienic Art Park Stage is Boston's extraordinary synth pop band Bearstronaut (10 p.m.). If you haven't seen Brazen Youth (5 p.m.) and Loom (7 p.m.), they're two of the finer new bands in the area.

On Saturday, Carl Franklin (4 p.m.), WolfGhost (6 p.m.) and the Sue Menhart Band (7:30 p.m.) all play the Custom House Stage. Orquesta Tentacion (3 p.m.) performs on the City Hall Stage, and DJ Frank Lo entertains at City Pier (noon-4 p.m.). At the Hygienic, Daphne Lee Martin (4 p.m.) and Soul Shot (7:30 p.m. and post-fireworks) are always solid, and the Writers Block InK Incorporated artistic collective, comprising area high schoolers (2 p.m.), are well worth your time.

Sunday's highlights include cover band wonders Darik & the Funbags (3 p.m.) at the Custom House; the City Hall Stage boasts a full day of gospel including Philadelphia's Jermaine Dolly (5 p.m.); and Noah Feldman (4 p.m.) is just one many fine acts at the Ninth Annual Shoreline Acoustic Music Festival starting at noon in the Hygienic Art Park.

As always, Sunday starts off with the Sailfest Charter Oak Credit Union 5K Road Race, and the Happiness Tour will take an aerial photo of New London folks smiling at the Parade Plaza between 3 and 4 p.m. Sunday. Be sure to brush the Chompers out of your teeth!

CUSTOM HOUSE STAGE

Friday

5 p.m. Leaf Jumpers

6 p.m. U.S. Coast Guard Band

7 p.m. Zili Misik

8 p.m. Andre, Eddie and Friends

9 p.m. The Main Squeeze

Saturday

Noon Outta the Blue

1 p.m. Katie Perkins

2 p.m. Giffords Lane

3 p.m. The Cash Band

4 p.m. Carl Franklin

5 p.m. Ripe

6 p.m. WolfGhost

7:30 p.m. Sue Menhart

8 p.m. Azalea Drive

Sunday

Noon Paul Brockett Roadshow

1 p.m. Shaded Soul Band

2 p.m. Mochester

3 p.m. Darik and the Funbags

4 p.m. #D Sharp

HYGIENIC ART PARK STAGE

Friday – "I AM Fest Presents Sailfest Friday"

5 p.m. Brazen Youth

6 p.m. The New Lo Order

7 p.m. Loom

8 p.m. Straight to VHS

9 p.m. Violent Mae

10 p.m. Bearstronaut

Saturday

2 p.m. Writer's Block InK Incorporated

4 p.m. Daphne Lee Martin

5:30 p.m. Jeremiah Hazed

7:30 p.m. Soul Shot (and after fireworks)

Sunday – "SAMS Sunday: Ninth Annual Shoreline Acoustic Music Festival"

Noon Sherwood

12:30 p.m. Gaetano

1 p.m. Baird & Friends

1:30 p.m. Jim Lampos

2 p.m. Carolans

2:30 p.m. Maggie's Guitar

3 p.m. Bruce McDermott

3:30 p.m. M & M

4 p.m. Noah Feldman

4:30 p.m. Dean Denis

5 p.m. Roger Viens

5:30 p.m. Blonde Furniture

CITY PIER STAGE

Friday

5 p.m. DJ E@ZY

6 p.m. DJ E@ZY

7 p.m. ZumbaFitness

Saturday

noon DJ FranK Lo

1 p.m. DJ FranK Lo

2 p.m. New London High School Dance Team

3 p.m. DJ FranK Lo

4 p.m. DJ FranK Lo

CITY HALL STAGE

Saturday – "Fiesta Latina"

12:30 p.m. Fuego Latino

1:30 p.m. DWine

2 p.m. Leo Navarro

3 p.m. Orquesta Tenacion

4 p.m. Luis J

5 p.m. DJ Leo

6 p.m. Domenic Marte

Sunday – "Gospel"

noon Rock of Salvation Christian Church (Groton)

1 p.m. New London Community Choir (New London)

2 p.m. Peniel Church (American/Haitian-American, Norwich)

3 p.m. Krystal Livingston and Livingsongs Music (New York/New London)

4 p.m. Kymberli Joye of Youthful Praise (Hartford)

5 p.m. Jermaine Dolly (Philadelphia, PA)

Sailfest, noon-11 p.m. Fri., 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Sat., noon-6 p.m. Sun., downtown and Waterfront Park, New London; free; sailfest.org.

Carnival rides and food vendors at Sailfest in New London
(Abigail Pheiffer/The Day)
Carnival rides and food vendors at Sailfest in New London (Abigail Pheiffer/The Day)

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