Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Harvest Festival Press Release (long version)

The Harvest Festival has become a favorite fall tradition, and the Franklin Downtown Partnership plans a fun-filled start to the season with the 12th annual event on Sunday, October 5, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Organizers expect approximately 6,000 people will visit downtown Franklin and enjoy lively entertainment, delicious food, browsing among more than 100 participating artists, crafters, businesses and community groups, and, of course, games and activities in the Children’s Area.

“Every year the festival gives people an opportunity to relax, have one-on-one conversations with business owners, and take the time to learn more about our community,” says Lisa Piana, Franklin Downtown Partnership executive director. “We are happy to give everyone the chance to catch up with 6,000 of their closest friends and neighbors.”

DJ Domenic Cotoia of Music Odyssey Productions will kick off the event at 11 a.m. and entertain festival goers with a mix of country, Top 40 and rock and roll hits all day long from his booth on Main Street in front of Platinum Sponsor Rockland Trust.

Entertainment also can be found on the center island at the corner of Main and East Central streets and on the patio next to The Cake Bar. Local entertainers, including Franklin High students, will perform, along with perennial favorite Jamie Barrett, sponsored by Jane’s Frames. Fred Astaire Dance Studio dancers will show off their ballroom skills, and The Cake Bar will feature balloon artist Dick Moberg of Fun Faces With a Twist from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The Franklin School for the Performing Arts plans special events on its Main Street stage throughout the day.

Food options will cater to a variety of tastes. The FDP food tent on Main Street in front of Dean Bank will satisfy cravings for hot dogs, popcorn, snacks and water. The food truck outside of Century 21 will tempt with steak tips, burgers, Italian sausages, chicken, fresh-squeezed lemonade and lime rickeys.

Several downtown restaurants will serve signature snacks, and many food-based businesses will hand out free samples. Outside the Food Pantry, local farmers will sell fresh seasonal produce.

The Children’s Area behind Rockland Trust will be staffed by energetic volunteers from the Bernon Family Branch YMCA. Carnival games like the ring toss, balloon darts, corn hole and sink it, along with a bounce house, face painting and fall-themed crafts will keep children entertained. “Shoot, Kick and Tumble” will challenge kids to show off their basketball, soccer and gymnastic skills.

The area will feature many child-oriented businesses, such as Franklin Martial Arts, which plans board-breaking seminars. New this year is the ChildID booth where children, teens and young adults can be fingerprinted for free. The program is a service to parents, who will leave with a ChildID kit.  

The fun continues with tours at the Historical Museum, and the Franklin Public Library plans to host a “Make and Take” Halloween craft. Kids are invited to drop in between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. and sip hot cider while they create a Halloween spider or pumpkin.

The festival is not just for kids. Throughout town visitors can find a variety of art, informational, gift, business and organizational booths. The Franklin Cultural Council’s painted ladybugs will be on display at the corner of East Central and Summer streets. On Main, volunteers will answer questions and hand out information about the Franklin Solar Challenge.

The Harvest Festival is made possible by the generous support of sponsors who will have booths in “Sponsorship Row” on Main Street. This year’s Platinum Sponsors are Big Y World Class Market and Rockland Trust. Silver Sponsors are Digital Credit Union and Middlesex Savings Bank.

Bronze Sponsors include Chestnut Dental Associates, Dean Bank, Franklin Ford, Keefe Insurance Agency and SolarFlair Energy. Friends of the Festival Sponsors are AstrumSolar, D.G. Ranieri Real Estate, Franklin Yoga & Wellness, Leaf Filter, Rescom Exteriors and the Bernon Family Branch YMCA.

“The Harvest Festival shows what a tight-knit community Franklin is. In a relatively small downtown area we include more than 100 non-profit organizations, businesses, churches, banks, community groups, restaurants and cultural attractions. The festival continues to attract more vendors and visitors but essentially has stayed true to its origins by bringing the community together for a fun, affordable day out,” says Terri Frank, Harvest Festival booth chair.

The Franklin Downtown Partnership is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization made up of businesses, community leaders and residents working together to revitalize downtown Franklin. The Partnership relies on donations and sponsorship to fund events like the Harvest Festival, the Holiday Stroll and the Strawberry Stroll. The FDP works year-round on Beautification and greenspace efforts, and is actively involved in streetscape design and development issues involving the downtown. For more information please visit the FDP website, www.franklindowntownpartnership.org/, or contact the Executive Director at downtown.franklin@yahoo.com.