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Greenwich Daily Voice serves Greenwich, CT

Town Party Rocks Greenwich Park

Greenwich families danced to live music, sampled barbecue chicken in a grill-off, played games and basked in the sunshine Saturday at the sold-out Greenwich Town Party , a Memorial Day weekend tradition in the making.

“I just think it’s a wonderful event, and I’m so glad we were able to get tickets,” said Robin Wasserman, who came with her children, Sophia and Emilie. The girls had painted faces and were eating ice cream on the grass. “I’m having fun,” 3-year-old Sophia said. Wasserman’s husband Tom said, “Everyone’s having a great time. The kids especially are having a blast.”

Kids could hula hoop, play carnival games, tryout toys, jump on inflatable playhouses, get their faces painted, try out glitter tattoos and learn tricks from strolling magicians at Roger Sherman Baldwin Park.

“I came for the barbecue and the music, and the kids love the games,” said Janine Schera. Her young daughter Allison, who had her face painted, said her favorite part was “the bounce house.”

Partygoers received tasting tickets for eight BBQ grill-off stations, all competing for the best barbecue chicken. “Smokers Lounge was definitely the best,” Marilyn Birdsall said as she ate barbecue chicken in the shade under a tree in the park.

Carol Jackson, who was eating chicken with her daughter Elise, agreed that Smokers Lounge was her favorite, followed by Bobby Q’s. “It’s a lot of fun and excellent food,” she said.

Jackson said she came for one reason — the music. “A Toots and the Maytals song is my cell phone ring,” said Jackson of the Reggae band that played first on the main stage. “I couldn’t believe when I heard he was coming to our town.”

The party featured performances on two stages, including a local stage with artists and musicians from Greenwich and neighboring towns, as well as a main stage, hosting musical greats the Temptations, Toots and the Maytals, Little Feat, Robert Randolph and the Family Band and a special performance by Grammy Award-winning blues legend Buddy Guy.

The event’s 3,500 tickets sold out a week in advance. When 300 more tickets were granted last week, they sold out within four hours, said Kari Campano, who was in charge of marketing. Campano, who lived and raised her children in Greenwich, said she had been to other carnival events in town but said the Town Party was different. “This is such a relaxed atmosphere. Kids are having fun, and it really had a feel of a community block party.”

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