Cutting the shortcake biscuits

Topping the shortcake with whipped cream.

Nicholas Clapp of Vernon, enjoys a bowl of peach shortcake August 24 at the 63rd Annual Peach Festival in Manchester, Connecticut.

Article & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett


Fresh off her August primary win, Linda McMahon, Republican nominee to run for the United States senate from Connecticut. turned out to greet the large crowd at the 63rd Annual Peach Festival in Manchester, Conn. last night. It was a return visit to the popular festival, according to McMahon, who said she had stopped by two years ago. Surrounded by supporters wearing blue McMahon T-shirts, she shook hands with firefighter Ernest Jones then made her way up the hill along Main Street where festival-goers waited in line.

Republican candidate from Connecticut for U.S. senate, Linda McMahon shakes hands with firefighter Ernest Jones during the Peach Festival August 24 in Manchester, CT.



McMahon, who previously ran unsuccessfully for the senate against Democrat Richard Blumenthal, will face Democrat Congressman Chris Murphy in the upcoming November election. McMahon expressed confidence. “I feel good about the campaign,” she said, adding she plans to work every day to get her message out to voters.

The peach festival is a fundraiser for the Eighth Utilities Fire District, a mostly volunteer department serving the northern section of Manchester and offering mutual aid to other parts of town. Although bowls of peach shortcake are the real stars of the festival, this year political candidates were out in numbers to mingle at the event.

There was a large turnout for the festival.

Manchester, Connecticut Mayor Leo Diana with state Representative Jason Rojas, Deputy Mayor Jay Moran and Rojas’s daughters Stella and Addison.






Also on hand with his family was Representative Jason Rojas, Democrat from the state’s 9th assembly district. He had set up signs near the firehouse where the shortcakes were prepared and was joined for his meet-and-greet there by Manchester, Connecticut Mayor Leo Diana and Deputy Mayor Jay Moran.

Yet another candidate, Democrat Geoff Luxenberg, a representative from Connecticut’s 12th District, talked with constituents such as Kate Nicholas. She is president of  an organization called “Ring of Champions Society” – now promoting a rising, young boxer Mykquan “Mikey” Williams.

State Representative Geoff Luxenberg says hello to constiuent Kate Nicholas.


The evening was not all about politics. Most people were focused on the shortcake, socializing, or dancing to the sounds of the group Addison Station.

As well, this year the 8th Utilities Fire District decided to raise funds for an 8-year-0ld Manchester girl, Natalie Cosman, diagnosed at age seven with ovarian cancer. An emotional interim Fire Chief Ron Russo, who is Natalie’s neighbor, presented the little girl with a check from the department for $2, 228. Natalie also did the honors selecting winning raffle tickets for some twenty-two prizes.

Shown with the fire chief, Natalie selects raffle ticket winners.

Natalie with her parents Melinda and David.








“Natalie is doing well. She finished her chemo as of January,” said her mother, Melinda Cosman.

For the second year, Natalie and her family will be involved in the 5K Run/Walk to Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer being held at Hammonaset Beach Park in Madison, CT on September 22. (See an interview with Natalie on CTNow, Fox news station-from August 8, 2012). For more information visit or call 860-861-0061.

 For some people, the peach festival is a tradition. Such is the case for Kate O’Marra Clapp, of Vernon. Originally from Manchester, Clapp said her  family has been active with the fire department for years. She brought her son Nicholas Clapp, who was happily enjoying the peach shortcake.

“I remember cutting peaches for the festival,” she noted.

For others, it was a first time experience. Anita and Dale Macken moved to town two years ago after getting married. Having celebrated their second wedding anniversary on July 31, they still describe themselves as newlyweds. He had lived in Bristol and she in South Windsor.

The group Addison Station performs during the 63rd Annual Peach Festival.

First time festival-goers Anita and Dale Macken, of Manchester.

“We saw the signs and decided to come,” said the couple, agreeing the dessert was worth the visit – just peachy!