Franklin’s Harvest Festival is Back - October 2
By J.D. O’Gara
After taking a year-long break from the Harvest Festival due to the Covid pandemic, the Franklin Downtown Partnership (FDP) is excited to bring back the event on Saturday, October 2, with a rain date of October 3. The 18th annual Harvest Festival will be held in downtown Franklin from noon to 5 p.m. on Main Street, Dean Avenue, West Central Street, and Depot Street, as well as the large parking area behind Rockland Bank.
“There’s excitement to be able to do this outdoor festival this year,” says Scott Martin, of the Hockomock YMCA and Chair of the Harvest Festival Committee. “It gives local businesses and organizations that have served our community during challenging times a chance to highlight and shine and show what they do best. It gives residents a reason to come to the downtown, people from out of Franklin a reason to come to Franklin by offering entertainment, different crafters, different fun activities. We really try to make sure there’s enough for all ages.”
“Everyone in the community really wants to get out and celebrate,” adds Lisa Piana, Executive Director of the Franklin Downtown Partnership. “They missed it last year. We have great local businesses and organizations that really want to come out and talk to people, and this is an opportunity for them to do it, hopefully on a great fall day.”
Working with guidance from the Franklin Health Department and the Franklin Police, the outdoor festival will feature carefully-spaced vendor booths, with a number of booths moved into the Rockland Trust parking lot this year. “Safety is our number one priority,” says Piana. “I think people will be excited to see how much extra room we have.”
Visitors to the Harvest Festival will enjoy entertainment, shop specials, artwork by area artisans and helpful information from community groups. There will be over 160 vendors, crafters and food booths. In addition:
• Dancing on Dean will feature live music from two popular local bands: Ben Gardner’s Boat and The Driftwoods.
• The Franklin Historical Museum will host a photo display of farming in Franklin as far back as 100 years.
• The Franklin Art Association will have an art show in the Rockland Trust Annex on Main Street that will feature art, photography, a scholarship raffle and small works and greeting cards for sale.
• The Franklin Fire Department will display an antique ladder truck while mascot Sparky greets children.
A yummy way to support this annual event is to stop by the Dean Bank booth on Main Street for seasonal cider donuts and cider. Proceeds from those sales go to the FDP to help run the festival. Visitors can enjoy other offerings in the food court area behind Rockland Trust Bank, including traditional Fenway Italian sausage, hot dogs, barbecue chicken sandwiches, cheeseburgers, veggie burgers, chicken fingers, French fries, sweet potato fries, fried dough, fried Oreos, fresh squeezed lemonade, and ice cream. Please email [email protected] with any vendor-related questions.
Piana encourages Harvest Festival goers to patronize the 12-14 food booths that will be set up behind Rockland Trust. “They’re all local restaurants, and they had such a tough year last year, so we’re really asking folks to come out and support their local restaurants. Eat a lot of food! There’s plenty of room, plenty of tables and chairs.”
Many businesses are helping make the Harvest Festival possible by sponsoring it. The Franklin Downtown Partnership thanks platinum sponsors Dean Bank, Mosquito Mary’s and RI Motorsports and Detail; silver sponsors Bissanti Real Estate Appraisals & Consulting, Glen Meadows Apartments, Hockomock YMCA, Liberty Tax, Middlesex Savings Bank, Rockland Trust & The Enclave of Franklin; and bronze sponsors: Arcadia Dental of Franklin, Beaux Regards Photographic Art, Camford Property Group, Chestnut Dental Associates, D.G. Ranieri Real Estate, Encore Music Academy and Recording Studios, Edward Jones - Kevin L. Johnson, Fenton Financial Group, Keefe Insurance, La Cantina Winery, LeafFilter North, Mint Dental of Franklin, MyFM 101.3, Nerds to Go, and Senate President Karen E. Spilka.
“I just can’t say enough about the businesses that stepped up to sponsor this event,” says Piana. “Residents need to understand that without the support of local businesses, these community events just don’t happen. We’re very, very grateful for their support.”
The Franklin Health Department is recommending that everyone who is not vaccinated, please wear a mask at the Harvest Festival. Anyone who is immune-compromised should also wear a mask, regardless of their vaccination status. Anyone with Covid symptoms should stay at home.
The Harvest Festival committee is also looking for volunteers to help with the event. If you are interested, please contact Beth Simon at [email protected]
“It’s our 18th year, so we’re glad to be back doing this,” says Martin. “I see a lot of my neighbors, my friends, and a lot of people I’ve met. Over the course of three to four hours, I see a lot of people I haven’t seen, and it’s just good to feel we’re together again.”
About the Franklin Downtown Partnership:
The Franklin Downtown Partnership is a nonprofit, 501©3 organization made up of more than 350 business owners, community leaders and residents working to stimulate economic development downtown and create a positive impact throughout the area. Visit www.franklindowntownpartnership.org
Franklin Art Association to Hold Art Show during Harvest Festival
The Franklin Art Association will be holding an art show and sale on Saturday, October 2 from 12-5 p.m. at the Rockland Trust Annex (44 Main Street, Franklin) in conjunction with the Franklin Downtown Partnership Harvest Festival.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Franklin Art Association. According to its website, it was “established to provide a forum for the promotion of visual arts; for the preservation of the finest artistic traditions by means of exhibiting works, conducting classes, lectures, and sponsoring other activities favorable to artistic expression, and to provide friendly exchanges among painters, photographers and those interested in the fine arts.”
The Franklin Art Association holds monthly meetings, which are free and open to the public, from September through June. The organization recently resumed in-person meetings at the Franklin Senior Center, 10 Daniel McCahill St., Franklin, on the first Wednesday of each month, from 6:30-9 p.m. with a business meeting starting at 6:45, followed by a presentation. This month, the group will feature guest demonstrator Deborah L. Friedman, who has won numerous awards for her beautiful and lifelike studies using colored pencil as her artistic medium.
For more information about the Franklin Art Association, visit Franklin Art Association on Facebook up to date information, or find them at www.franklinart.org.