Village People headline Norwalk Oyster Festival
Published 2:59 pm, Thursday, September 5, 2013
Sure, there will be plenty of slurping and shucking going on, but don't think for a minute that mollusks are the only star attraction in one of Norwalk's long-standing traditions.
Rather, the 36th annual Norwalk Seaport Association Oyster Festival will feature three days of food, music, rides, children's activities, arts and crafts vendors and special presentations.
"There is something going on all the time," said festival co-chairman Jerry Toni. "There is a little bit of everything for everyone."
The event runs from Friday, Sept. 6, to Sunday, Sept. 8, at Veteran's Park. Toni said it is necessary to get a head start, considering the many exhibitors, vendors and performers that will be featured all three days.
Among them will be a band that is celebrating its 36th year, as well. The Village People are set to perform Saturday on the main stage -- the same site they were unable to ascend last year when their scheduled performance was canceled because of stormy weather.
"We never forget how blessed we are," said band member Eric Anzalone, a New Jersey-based singer and actor, of the disco group's many fans around the world -- including those who will gather in Norwalk.
Anzalone's entry into the six-man group began with a response to a classified ad in the Village Voice newspaper in 1995. "It read `well-known band looking for singer with a passport.' "
Anzalone, a guitarist and singer whose musical tastes lean more toward the heavy rock sound of such bands as Black Sabbath, Boston and Rush, was initially surprised to be asked to join, but soon settled in, simultaneously gaining five new band mates and friends.
"These guys are like my brothers," he said.
"The original members would be the first to tell you ... a few members may have changed, but the vibe has remained the same," Anzalone said.
So, get ready to hear such classic '70s hits as "YMCA," "Macho Man" and "In the Navy," as well as the band's new single "Let's Go Back to the Dance Floor," written by KC & the Sunshine Band's Harry Casey and Chris Cadenhead.
"We just keep rolling with the times," Anzalone said.
There will be rolling of a different nature at the Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show, where accomplished lumberjack competitors will be showing off their skills at log rolling, axe throwing, chain sawing and more all weekend.
"All of our guys have been doing this since they were little," said Myra LeCaptain, who runs the show along with her husband, Lee. "They have to be doing this for a long time to work with us."
Although the lumberjack and a BMX bike show, which is new this year, are for all ages, children will have a place of their own in the Kids' Cove, where encounters with pirates, daredevils, magicians and master puppeteers from Arm-of-the-Sea Theater will be a constant all weekend. On Sunday, there will be special discounts for families as well.
The event is a major fundraiser for the Norwalk Seaport Association, as well as many nonprofits that participate in the event.
"This is truly a community event," said Toni, who added that its success can be measured by what he sees when he gets the occasional minute to simply savor the scene.
"It may be a lot of work, but it is fun to see the people coming through the gates," he said. "One of my favorite things is to see the crowds on family day. The gates open at 11 a.m., but by 10:30 a.m., the lines are down the street."
Veteran's Park, Seaview Avenue, Norwalk. Friday, Sept. 6, 6 to 11 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 7, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 8, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission: $10 Friday, $12 Saturday and Sunday; $10 seniors; $5 children 5 to 12. On Sunday, children under 12 get in free with each paid adult admission. 203-838-9444, http://www.seaport.org.