For many people, Mamaroneck is just a hard-to-spell stop on the train line to New York. But Jen Mangano is more than happy to get people to stop in and see what the place is really like. To that end, she's helped organize Harbor Fest, a celebration of the village's nautical heritage, for five of the event's seven years.
"It's a way to bring the community together and get everyone to put their best foot forward," says Mangano, whose job as co-chairman involves almost every aspect of the festival. "Fundraising, budget planning and lots of organizing meetings and committees," she says. "But when everything goes off without a hitch, it's all worth it."
The one-day event, scheduled this year for June 5 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m, turns Mamaroneck Avenue into a festival thoroughfare, full of food vendors, entertainment and family activity areas. "A year's worth of planning for seven hours," Mangano jokes.
"Every year we try to add something new to keep it exciting," she says, nothing that this year there will be more entertainment. "We wanted to give local bands a chance to perform, and make it a true community event."
The Village of Mamaroneck is located on the water and has a long nautical history, which is honored by the presence of tall ships near Harbor Island Park. "It's a strong boating community, and we want to recognize that."
In its seven-year history, Harbor Fest has grown to attract some 30,000 visitors. And it's Mangano's hope they'll come back to visit. "People love it," she says. "If it's their first time in Mamaroneck, it won't be their last."
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