New London's Sailfest returns Friday through Sunday

This internet thing is amazing. The Day online archive, too. Deftly nuancing the technical possibilities of each and both, I was able to isolate and quantify the number and variety of superlatives used, over the years, to describe New London's Sailfest.

A lot! Oddly, "awesome" has only been used twice. The irrepressible and vibrant Barbara Neff, officially titled "Warrior Goddess of Sailfest," early on decreed that "awesome" had become too trite and overused to describe Sailfest, so folks would have to be more creative in their reverence.

Anyway, there are only four superlatives that have never been used to described the greatness of Sailfest — and they were either in runic languages or tongues untilized by undersea civilizations long ago lost to time and tide.

Most important: Sailfest is here! Friday through Sunday, the New London Waterfront and Downtown New London will roar wildly. You know the drill: This free celebration of the Whaling City offers food, fun, frivolity, fireworks, music and arts, amusement rides, water taxis, a beer tent, tours, road races, Sunday's Family Funday, and much more.

A word to the wise and happy at heart. Do NOT miss Friday's 8 p.m. performance on the Custom House Stage by festival headliners Big Sam's Funky Nation. This is one of the best of the new generation New Orleans funk bands — which is saying a helluva lot.


Custom House Pier Stage


5 p.m. — Casey & Chris (pop)

6 p.m. — Plywood Cowboy (Americana)

7 p.m. — Penni Layne & The Wonder Boys (R&B/soul)

8 p.m. — Big Sam's Funky Nation (New Orleans funk)


Noon — Four Top (alternative rock)

1 p.m. — Burnouts from Outer Space (new Romantic/indie rock)

1:45 p.m. — Brian Jai (R&B)

2:30 p.m. — Ethan Cash (singer/songwriter)

3:15 p.m. — Jenny Leigh Miller (country)

4 p.m. — Luis Pabon Theatre Dance Company

4:45 p.m.— Suave-ski aka Camacho (hip hop)

5:30 p.m. — Flight of Fire (rock)

6:30 p.m. — Franc Grams (hip hop) 

7:15 p.m. — Live at the Fillmore (Allman Brothers Band tribute)

8:40 p.m. — Shaded Soul Band (soul)


12:30 p.m. — Pirate Invasion

1 p.m. — Steve Daggett (country)

2 p.m. — Morrissey Blvd— (pop)

3 p.m. — Otis & The Hurricanes (Louisiana R&B)

4 p.m. — World Famous Harlem Gospel Choir

Hygienic Stage in the Arts Park


7 p.m. — Benny Valazquez Group


4 p.m. — Zumba

5 p.m. — Yardy Estrada 

6 p.m. — Grupo Tentacion

7:30 p.m. — Orquesta Afinke

9 p.m. — DJ Rich 1


2 p.m. — Shoreline Acoustic Music Society (SAMS) 13th Annual Music Festival (performers include Sherwood, Ray Lange, Whiskey & Aspirin, Bruce McDermott, Roger Viens, Mike Bailey, and The Fagins and Friends)

Whale Tail Stage at Parade Plaza


11:30 a.m. — Martial Arts Demo

Noon — String Theory Music School

1:30 p.m. — Tiger Eye Dance

2 p.m. — King Cay

2:30 p.m. — Anna May

3 p.m. — Mason Imperial

3:30 p.m. — Young Q and the Young Q Dancers and DJ E@zy

Sailfest Latin Stage

4 p.m. — DJ LEO + Univision

5 p.m. — Salsa Class with Nector Garcia

5:45 p.m. — Grupo Fuzion

6:45 p.m. — Jmiel y Fonzeka (reggaeton)

7 p.m. — DJ LEO + Univision

7:50 p.m. — Toby Love (Bachata)

Sunday Gospel Show

Noon — Rock of Salvation

1 p.m. — Lester Jones Ministries

2 p.m. — The Wave

3 p.m. — Church of the City

4 p.m. — World Famous Harlem Gospel Choir on the Custom House Stage



Fisherman's Pier

6-11 p.m. Dinner and Fireworks (ticketed event, go to


Sailfest 5K Road Race

9 a.m. — Start and finish at New London Train Station (see for registration info)

Family Funday

City Pier

All day — Get your picture with the United States Coast Guard's Sammy the Sea Otter mascot and learn about lifebelt safety

Parade Plaza

Noon-3 p.m. — Free crafts

Noon- 4 p.m. — Face painting by the Drunken Palette

1 p.m. — Free Hula Hoop lesson

Custom House Pier

12:30 p.m. — Pirate Invasion

Custom House Museum

2 p.m. — Be a part of the attempt to break the world's largest fist bump explosion chain record

Beer Tent, Custom House Pier

5-11 p.m. Fri., noon-9 p.m. Sat., noon-6 p.m. Sun.

Also worth noting, the following streets will be closed Saturday and Sunday: Bank Street from Tilley to State Street and State Street from Eugene O'Neill Drive to South Water Street

Sailfest, noon-11 p.m. Fri., 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Sat., 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun., downtown and Waterfront Park, New London; free;


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