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NEW FAIRFIELD – On Saturday, August 11, paddlers will take to the water and others will keep to the shore to enjoy an evening listening to talented local musicians. All are welcome to float, row, paddle, or walk around Ball Pond, following an itinerary that starts at 5pm and includes 10 widely-ranging acts who play on a variety of docks and beaches. There is no cost to participate in the flotilla, but donations to Friends of Ball Pond are welcome.

A unique community-building event, the Ball Pond Music Festival was a success from its inception. Local resident Mary Yulo envisioned an event that would showcase her neighbors’ musical talents in an exciting, active way. Fellow Friends of Ball Pond members joined her in creating the first music festival and nearly every member and musical act continues to come back each year because it is such a gratifying event and is a celebration of life on, and love of, Ball Pond.

Acts include a phenomenal local piper, Jonathan Henken, who plays bagpipes in full Scottish regalia; former music teachers, Les Horan and Abigail Lumsden on jazz piano and violin; and retired opera singer Gloria Capone. All are Ball Pond residents. Mark Spellmann of Friends of Ball Pond says of the event that “it’s just the best thing in the world!”

Spellman explained that each year the event has grown, from a few dozen boats appreciating the music the first year, to over 200 boats, plus 200 people on foot, last year. He explained that his favorite community-building aspect of the event is, “that the community, in its diversity, all comes out and we identify as one community. In these divided times, that’s so important!” He went to quip, “Rolling Stones fans and Beatles fans joining together as one!”

A festival for all ages, among the acts there will be a family-friendly, interactive session titled Water and Dance. There will also be a fun- and classics-filled sing-along.

A first for the festival, this year’s event is being sponsored by Bartlett Tree Service. The company invested in advertising costs and fees for laminating song books for the aforementioned sing-along stop on the itinerary. Bartlett Tree Service staff members will also attend to kick-off the event.

Mark Spellmann encouraged anyone and everyone who cares about Ball Pond to come to the festival. He also noted that there are no concessions or bathroom facilities available at the event. In addition, Friends of Ball Pond ask that boats from other lakes be cleaned prior to entering the lake to prevent the spread of zebra mussels.

The Ball Pond Music Festival will commence on Saturday, August 11, 5:00pm.Parking is available at the boat launch on Ball Pond East off of Gillotti Road.

By Sarah Opdahl