News Flash

West Haven News

Posted on: August 1, 2022

Savin Rock Festival 2022 shines with good food, music

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 2 125 II (Small)

PHOTO — The British Legends of Rock Show headlines Day Two of the Savin Rock Festival in West Haven’s Old Grove Park on Saturday night, July 30. The band delved into the pantheon of British rock royalty and played the crown jewels of the British music catalog of the ’60s and ’70s. The shoreline festival, sponsored by the University of New Haven and New England Brewing Co., attracted crowds of 2,500 and 3,000, respectively, and featured a row of food and dessert trucks. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

WEST HAVEN, Aug. 1, 2022 — The Savin Rock Festival brought back the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of “the Rock” for a weekend, giving thousands of festivalgoers a glimpse into the amusement park’s glorious past and why it was Connecticut’s most popular shoreline destination for decades.

The two-day festival, held in West Haven’s historic Old Grove Park, showcased the time-honored recipe — musical groups, rides, games, mouthwatering foods — that made the 20th-century Savin Rock Park so special and so storied as “the playground of New England.”

Along with a “bigger and better” midway of rides and games supplied by Marenna Amusements, a row of eight food and six dessert trucks served up burgers, hot dogs, cheesesteaks, fried dough, gyros, lobster rolls, tacos and meatball bombs, as well as cannoli, ice cream, cupcakes and kettle corn.

The festival opened Friday, July 29, with welcoming remarks by Mayor Nancy R. Rossi and followed with a beautiful rendition of the national anthem by Adeline Mellilo, a 2022 graduate of West Haven High School.

Rossi thanked city departments, employees and volunteers for making the festival happen, including festival coordinator Kristen Teshoney, Public Works Commissioner Tom J. McCarthy, Human Resources Commissioner Beth A. Sabo and entertainment coordinator Tom Conroy.

“I am proud to kick off the 2022 Savin Rock Festival and honor the history of the Rock,” Rossi told the festive crowd. “Stop by and enjoy all the different foods — you won’t be disappointed — and don’t miss the craft fair.”

Rossi also thanked the festival’s title sponsor, the University of New Haven, along with sponsors New England Brewing Co., Industrial Recycling, Sabatino Tartufi, Frankson Fence Co. and Baybrook Remodelers Inc.

Radio personality Brian Smith, back for a fifth time as the “ringmaster” of ceremonies, then heralded the evening’s musical lineup, saying, “Welcome to Day One of Savin Rock Festival 2022!”

The Navels, performing the best of Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks and other ’70s and ’80s rock classics, warmed up concertgoers for headliner Parkway Diner, which played favorites by Elton John and Billy Joel, including John’s “Bennie and the Jets” and Joel’s “The Downeaster ‘Alexa.’”

The bands entertained and interacted with the all-ages crowd, turning the concrete pad in front of the portable stage into a giant dance floor.

Before the Parkway Diner concert, Rossi, state Rep. Treneé McGee, D-West Haven, and City Council members Bridgette J. Hoskie, D-1, Sarah J. Ackbarali, D-3, Robbin Watt Hamilton, D-5, and Robert Bruneau, D-9, presented citations onstage to lifeguards Issac Gorske, 20, and Lauren Blake, 16, of the Department of Parks and Recreation for their “prompt response and extraordinary heroism in action” during two rescues on Oak Street Beach recently. The lifeguards were accompanied by their supervisor, Margaret Ruggiero, Park-Rec’s pool and waterfront coordinator.

Gorske rescued a drowning 11-year-old boy who jumped off the pier of Oak B Beach at 1:05 p.m. Wednesday, June 29, and Blake rescued a drowning 8-year-old girl who was struggling with the current on Oak A Beach at 2:50 p.m. Thursday, July 7. Lifeguard Madison Hobart, 18, also received a mayoral citation for the June 29 rescue but could not attend the presentation.

On Saturday, July 30, the 152-year-old Grove, fanned by a cool summer breeze, provided a stunning setting beneath the sun-drenched oak trees for activities and concerts, including Tre Paul, the Day Two opener.

The trio, anchored by retired city police Detective Sgt. Paul Raucci on vocals, played a 90-minute set of rock, oldies and singalongs, including Kool & the Gang’s “Ladies’ Night,” Tom Jones’ “It’s Not Unusual” and Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.”

Before the concert, Smith greeted the crowd of happy faces and introduced Elizabeth Shea, an incoming senior at West Haven High, who sang a stellar rendition of the national anthem.

Echoes of Sinatra followed and performed a timeless tribute to the one and only Frank Sinatra. The five-piece band, fronted by Sinatra tribute artist Steve Kaz, traced the life and career of Ol’ Blue Eyes through music and storytelling.

For 90 minutes, Kaz entertained the crowd with fascinating stories of Sinatra, playful banter with the orchestra and spot-on swing renditions of the Sinatra hits you know by heart, including “Come Fly With Me,” “Witchcraft” and “Fly Me to the Moon.”

The show featured Kaz crooning big-band standards from Sinatra’s tenure with bandleaders Harry James and Tommy Dorsey and selections from the Great American Songbook.

Other Sinatra cuts included “Luck Be a Lady,” “Summer Wind” and “My Way,” culminating with the anthem “New York, New York.”

The bands were complemented by Smith, a former co-host of WPLR’s “Smith and Barber the Morning Show,” who segued the performers with hysterical bursts of comic relief.

The night’s headliner, The British Legends of Rock Show, delved into the pantheon of British rock royalty and played the crown jewels of the British music catalog of the ’60s and ’70s, including Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times Bad Times,” The Who’s “I Can’t Explain,” the Spencer Davis Group’s “Gimme Some Lovin’” and Elton John’s “The Bitch Is Back.”

During the afternoon, the festival’s first Touch-a-Truck event gave children and those young at heart an up-close look at emergency response vehicles, including the West Haven Fire Department’s new aerial platform truck, and big trucks, such as a front loader from the Department of Public Works.

Firefighters of the West Haven Fire Department, led by Fire Marshal Roger Sicotte, demonstrated the department’s 35-foot smoke trailer and showed children what to do in the event of a fire.

West Haven firefighters also demonstrated the Jaws of Life tool by prying open parts of a vehicle to free those trapped inside.

A short distance away, firefighters of the West Shore Fire Department demonstrated the department’s amphibious rescue boat.

At the craft fair, longtime vendor Diane Della Camera of Savin Rock Printing was joined by first-time vendors Susan Caprio and Janette Quiles to sell their wares.

Della Camera sold Savin Rock T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, tote bags and fuzzy dice. Caprio, the owner of Berry Berry Nice, displayed her frozen beverage treats, and Quiles, who owns Wallwork Creations, showed her custom-designed, weather-proof wooden signs.

West Haven Rotary Club President Carrie Malangone, Secretary Denise Weber and Rotarian Dawn Callahan sold WestHavenOpoly, the West Haven centennial version of the board game Monopoly. The $30 game is available at WestHavenOpoly. Sales benefit the Rotary Club Foundation.

At the festival’s hospitality tent, Sabo sold coins, lapel pins and signed copies of the book “City of West Haven: Village to Town” from last year’s West Haven Centennial Celebration, as well as signed prints of the Savin Rock flying horse Silver Fox and DVDs of the Savin Rock documentary, “See Ya at the Rock!”

West Haven’s flagship festival, established by the Chamber of Commerce, debuted on July 24, 1982, to bring organizations, clubs, businesses and families together for a summer festival that celebrates life in one of America’s oldest coastal communities.

From the dawn of the Savin Rock House hotel in 1838, the Rock had long been a resort hub until it was officially incorporated as an amusement park by the Savin Rock Park Co. on Memorial Day 1925, when it opened to 300,000 visitors and 66,000 automobiles in one spectacular day.

For the next 40 years, the famous seaside park captured the hearts and imaginations of “Rock rats” young and old. “The Coney Island of Connecticut” shuttered on Sept. 21, 1966, to pave the way for the Savin Rock Urban Renewal Project.

— MICHAEL P. WALSH, Public Relations Information Coordinator

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 2 125 II (Small)

The British Legends of Rock Show headlines Day Two of the Savin Rock Festival in West Haven’s Old Grove Park on Saturday night, July 30. The band delved into the pantheon of British rock royalty and played the crown jewels of the British music catalog of the ’60s and ’70s. The shoreline festival, sponsored by the University of New Haven and New England Brewing Co., attracted crowds of 2,500 and 3,000, respectively, and featured a row of food and dessert trucks. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh) 

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 1 105 II (Small)

Day One headliner Parkway Diner performs favorites by Elton John and Billy Joel on Friday night, July 29, turning the Grove into a giant dance party. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 1 006 II (Small)

“Welcome to Savin Rock Festival 2022,” says radio personality Brian Smith, the master of ceremonies, on Friday evening, July 29. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 1 013 II (Small)

Adeline Mellilo, a 2022 graduate of West Haven High School, sings a beautiful rendition of the national anthem Friday evening, July 29. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 1 023 II (Small)

The Navels warm up concertgoers by playing the best of Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks on Friday evening, July 29, along with ’Til Tuesday’s “Voices Carry,” Joan Jett’s “I Hate Myself for Loving You” and Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker.” (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 1 028 II (Small)

The Navels rock out with ’70s and ’80s hits Friday evening, July 29. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 1 094 II (Small)

West Haven lifeguards Lauren Blake, 16, and Issac Gorske, 20, receive citations from Mayor Nancy R. Rossi, third from left, on Friday evening, July 29, for their “prompt response and extraordinary heroism in action” during two rescues on Oak Street Beach recently. With Rossi and the lifeguards are, from left, state Rep. Treneé McGee, D-West Haven; Councilman Robert Bruneau, D-9; Councilwoman Sarah J. Ackbarali, D-3, with son Christian, 5; Councilwoman Bridgette J. Hoskie, D-1; Margaret Ruggiero, the city’s pool and waterfront coordinator; and Councilwoman Robbin Watt Hamilton, D-5. Blake rescued a drowning 8-year-old girl who was struggling with the current on Oak A Beach at 2:50 p.m. Thursday, July 7, and Gorske rescued a drowning 11-year-old boy who jumped off the pier of Oak B Beach at 1:05 p.m. Wednesday, June 29. Lifeguard Madison Hobart, 18, also received a mayoral citation for the June 29 rescue but could not attend the presentation. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 1 081 II (Small)

Emery Johnson and her father, West Haven Fire Department Deputy Chief William S. Johnson IV, collect money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association on Friday evening, July 29. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 1 077 II (Small)

From left, West Haven Rotary Club Secretary Denise Weber, Rotarian Dawn Callahan and President Carrie Malangone sell WestHavenOpoly, the West Haven centennial version of the board game Monopoly, on Friday evening, July 29. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 1 068 II (Small)

The jampacked row of food and dessert trucks on Palace Street on Friday evening, July 29. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 1 062 II (Small)

Chloe O’Connor sprinkles powdered sugar on a fried dough as Marissa Franco takes an order from a customer and her husband, Mark Franco, prepares homemade fried dough inside their Franco’s Fried Dough-Licious food truck Friday evening, July 29. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 1 070 II (Small)

Szabo’s Seafood truck Friday evening, July 29. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 1 072 II (Small)

Joey C’s BBQ & Burgers food truck Friday evening, July 29. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 1 123 II (Small)

Parkway Diner on Friday night, July 29. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 1 120 II (Small)

From left, West Haven’s Fran Nugent, Kate Kane and Nicole Forsyth have fun dancing to the music of Parkway Diner on Friday night, July 29. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 1 112 II (Small)

Parkway Diner’s saxophonist Friday night, July 29. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 1 124 II (Small)

The midway of rides and games by Marenna Amusements on Friday night, July 29. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 2 043 II (Small)

Tre Paul, anchored by retired West Haven police Detective Sgt. Paul Raucci on vocals, center, opens Day Two’s musical lineup by playing a 90-minute set of rock, oldies and singalongs Saturday afternoon, July 30. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 2 048 II (Small)

The Three Pauls on Saturday afternoon, July 30. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 2 004 II (Small)

Mason Dechio, 5, of Orange, sits behind the wheel of a front loader from the West Haven Department of Public Works at the festival’s first Touch-a-Truck event Saturday afternoon, July 30. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 2 009 II (Small)

Kasen Santiago, 2, of West Haven, sits behind the wheel of the West Haven Fire Department’s new aerial platform truck at the Touch-a-Truck on Saturday afternoon, July 30. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 2 011 II (Small)

Children enjoy the teacup ride by Marenna Amusements on Saturday afternoon, July 30. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 2 015 II (Small)

Marenna’s flagship Ferris wheel towers above the Savin Rock shoreline Saturday afternoon, July 30. The ride is flanked by the Tilt-a-Whirl and the Dino roller coaster. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 2 051 II (Small)

Jordan Karr, 7, of West Haven, throws a baseball at a target that clocks the speed of the ball Saturday afternoon, July 30. The speed target was sponsored by West Haven Hook and Ladder Company 1. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 2 020 II (Small)

Tara McDougall of Savin Rock Printing sells Savin Rock T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, tote bags and fuzzy dice Saturday afternoon, July 30. The printing business is a longtime festival vendor. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 2 023 II (Small)

Bracelets and other handmade crafts are shown by Blue Artesanias, a first-time vendor, on Saturday afternoon, July 30. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 2 030 II (Small)

A display of frozen beverage treats by Berry Berry Nice on Saturday afternoon, July 30. Berry Berry Nice is owned by Susan Caprio, a first-time vendor. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 2 058 II (Small)

First-time craft vendor Janette Quiles, the owner of Wallwork Creations, shows her custom-designed, weather-proof wooden signs Saturday afternoon, July 30. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 2 059 II (Small)

Members of the Shore Haven Wreckers travel softball team sell snacks and autographed major league baseballs Saturday afternoon, July 30. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 2 064 II (Small)

From left, West Haven Vietnam Veterans President Dave Ricci, member Kevin Sullivan, Treasurer Steve Carney, member Rick Foley, Vice President Al Beck, and members Howie Chernikoff and Howie Thomas sell mugs and T-shirts to benefit local charities Saturday afternoon, July 30. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 2 068 II (Small)

At the festival’s hospitality tent Saturday afternoon, July 30, city Human Resources Commissioner Beth A. Sabo and Public Works Commissioner Tom J. McCarthy sell coins, lapel pins and signed copies of the book “City of West Haven: Village to Town” from last year’s West Haven Centennial Celebration, as well as signed prints of the Savin Rock flying horse Silver Fox and DVDs of the Savin Rock documentary, “See Ya at the Rock!” (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 2 109 II (Small)

Echoes of Sinatra, fronted by Frank Sinatra tribute artist Steve Kaz, perform swing renditions of the Sinatra songs you know by heart Saturday evening, July 30. The 90-minute show traced Sinatra’s life and career through music and storytelling. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 2 099 II (Small)

Echoes of Sinatra drummer Tony Traina plays a masterful drum solo in the vein of Buddy Rich on Saturday evening, July 30. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 2 102 II (Small)

Echoes of Sinatra trumpeter Larry Nissman and saxophonist Keith Gurland on Saturday evening, July 30. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 2 112 II (Small)

Echoes of Sinatra on Saturday evening, July 30. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 2 106 II (Small)

The crowded Grove on Saturday evening, July 30. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 2 134 II (Small)

The British Legends of Rock Show on Saturday night, July 30. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 2 123 II (Small)

The colorful guitarist of the British Legends of Rock Show on Saturday night, July 30. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 2 151 II (Small)

Just when you thought you’ve seen it all, this happens: A keyboard solo for the ages at The British Legends of Rock Show on Saturday night, July 30. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Savin Rock Festival 2022 Day 2 138 II (Small)

People dance to the British rock ’n’ roll hits of the ’60s and ’70s on Saturday night, July 30. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in West Haven News

Memorial Day Parade 2022 012 II (Small)

Parade honors America’s fallen

Posted on: May 31, 2022