Friday, September 30, 2011

"more crafters, more entertainers and more businesses involved than ever before"

Franklin’s Harvest Festival to be Largest Ever

Sandy Chaplin has been readying her hand-crafted bracelets and earrings since last spring in anticipation of the Franklin Downtown Partnership’s Harvest Festival. For a fifth year the jewelry artist and owner of Chappy Girls Studios will set up her customary booth on Main Street.

“My customers come to me with an idea in mind and I make their jewelry while they wait,” she says. “They get a really unique piece of jewelry they’ve helped create. My customers inspire me to come up with new designs all the time.” Chaplin, who is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer, recently designed a bracelet she will sell at the upcoming festival with the profits going to the American Cancer Society.

Chaplin will be one of more than 100 crafters participating in this year’s event on Sunday, October 2, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. This year the Franklin Downtown Partnership sold out booth space to crafters and community groups who wanted to be part of Franklin’s largest festival.

Organizers expect 5,000 visitors to this year’s ninth annual Harvest Festival, which will feature an expanded entertainment lineup, crafts, kids’ activities and games, food booths, an antique car show, Historical Museum tours, a farmers’ market, a fire station open house, and local businesses’ specials and promotions.

“This year’s festival has surpassed our expectations,” says FDP President Nicole Fortier. “We have more crafters, more entertainers and more businesses involved than ever before. We are excited to show the residents and visitors what a vibrant community we have here.”

Demand for booth space was high, and crafter booths will span all three main streets. Some vendors are participating for the first time this year, such as The Lace Man, who sells every type of lace possible, from doilies to unique, handmade lace pieces. Other crafters have returned year after year because the festival draws so many visitors.

To help everyone navigate the event this year, the Partnership has created the Harvest Festival Passport, which visitors can pick up at the FDP and major sponsors’ booths. Using the passport in combination with the map, visitors will seek out destination booths scattered throughout the festival to get their passport stamped. Once every destination has been validated, the passports will be entered into a drawing to win prizes. Passport drawing winners will be announced on the FDP website.

Jazz combo TKLS Perspective will play their blend of swing, hip hop, funk and bossa nova on the center island all day. The main stage in front of gold sponsor Rockland Trust Bank will feature professional DJ Domenic Cotoia of Music Odyssey Productions, Franklin High School ensemble Sustain, singer/songwriter Jamie Barrett, 2011 “Franklin Idol” winner Kaylee Finley, and 2011 “Franklin’s Got Talent” winner Dominic Salzillo.  Magician Chris Bolter will entertain the crowds with his special brand of magic.

On a separate stage in front of the Franklin School for the Performing Arts, FSPA will present an abbreviated version of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, accompanied by a professional band.

The Children’s Area in the Depot Street parking lot will feature some old favorite games and activities, and some new ones as well, like the obstacle course. Stop by the Cub Scout Pack 126 booth and drop off nonperishable food items to be donated to the Franklin Food Pantry.  

Food can be found in abundance at the festival. The food tent on Main Street will serve up burgers, sausages and peppers, chicken, lemonade and more. The FDP food tent in front of Dean Bank will have hot dogs, drinks, slushies and snacks. Several downtown restaurants are also serving food outside their establishments. Fresh, local produce can be found at the Farmer’s Market in the Berry Insurance parking lot.

The fire station will host an open house in observance of Fire Safety Week. Kids are invited to “Touch a Truck,” and firefighters will be on hand to answer questions and provide fire safety tips.  Down the street, the Historical Museum will be open for tours and will host the popular antique car show.

Many businesses are offering special promotions during the festival. Vallee Jewelers on Main Street will buy old, broken, outdated or mismatched gold items. Silver sponsor Green Mountain Chocolates will showcase its chocolate-dipped potato chips.

“We have more businesses and vendors involved this year than ever before,” says Partnership Executive Director Lisa Piana. “Our sponsors have been exceptional and stepped up to make this all possible. We are proud to be associated with these local businesses who take such an active role in making Franklin the livable, viable town that it is.”

The Gold Sponsor for this festival is Rockland Trust Charitable Foundation. Silver Sponsors are DCU,  Green Mountain Chocolates and Middlesex Savings Bank. Bronze Sponsors are Dean Bank,  Chestnut Dental Associates, Byrne Financial Freedom, LLC., Mike Dunsky/Guaranteed Rate and NHS Print.

Friends of the Festival sponsors are D.G. Ranieri Supply Company, Ferguson Enterprises, Ten Key, Inc., Keefe Insurance, Fenton Financial Group and Kindred Transitional Care and Rehabilitation, Franklin.  

The event will take place rain or shine and span Main Street and East and West Central Streets. Main Street will be closed at 9 a.m., reopening at 4 p.m. Visitor parking is available at designated lots along West Central Street, Main Street and Summer Street.

The Franklin Downtown Partnership is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization made up of businesses, community leaders and residents working to revitalize downtown Franklin. The Partnership relies on donations and sponsorship to fund events like the Harvest Festival as well as downtown improvement projects like beautification efforts and streetscape design. For more information please contact the Executive Director Lisa Piana at or visit the FDP website at   

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