It's More Than a Carnival


When Tyler Pinstein, a young man who grew up in MBTS and now lives here with his family, approached the Boosters about bringing back the carnival I had no idea how this experience would open my heart, and my eyes, helping me realize that a community fundraiser with so many nostalgic memories and stories would have the power to bring us together in a way that is meaningful and magical.

I did not grow up in Manchester, but, like Tyler, I shared a love for the carnival.  When my family and I moved here in 2011 we loved taking our then three- and four-year old kids to what felt like a magical affair.  At the time I had no idea who hosted it, where the money went or what it meant to the community.  I was just a parent looking for a way to entertain my toddlers and was so happy that the town I had just moved to had created something so amazing.

Fast forward a few years later and I found myself at a Boosters meeting asking why the carnival had ended and could we bring it back?  The members at the time were eager to have me explore.  Our first attempt at bringing back the carnival was in 2017.  We found a company but at the last minute they canceled due to lack of staff.  Once again, the carnival discussion became mute until last year when an energetic guy walked into Laughing Gull to meet me and share his vision.  He had so many fond memories of the carnival and together we agreed that future generations needed to share in these moments.  We also loved the idea that it could once again serve as the main fundraiser for our Manchester Essex Boosters.

We divided and conquered, received approved permits, contracted with a carnival company, and began to create a plan for bringing back the carnival.  Part of our plan was to connect with people from this community who, like Tyler, had amazing stories to share about the carnival.  We both agreed putting something out on the Manchester the What, When, Where, How on Facebook would be a great place to start.  This was a bit of a risk as sometimes this page can provide you with more than you originally wanted (insert winks and smile emoji).  Not this time!  My inbox was flooded with rich stories that included the history of how it all began, who started it, photos, old carnival posters.  Responses were from both young and old– it was a multi-generational palooza.  It was a moment where people were supporting each other and celebrating the opportunity for old and new to come together.

That’s when it hit me.  This is more than a carnival, more than a Boosters’ fundraiser.  It's an opportunity to celebrate Manchester and its community.  Past traditions shared with current residents old and new. While at the same time we are continuing the tradition of raising funds for our beloved Manchester Essex Athletic Boosters.  The event will return this fall making its debut as a Harvest Festival including all the fun and excitement of the carnival and some harvest fare to be served up by local food trucks from throughout the area. 


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