It was a busy weekend here in Somersworth and it began as any other weekend does with a Friday night. This was not a Friday night that several will easily forget though. This Friday night should have seen the opening night for the 37th Somersworth International Children’s Festival.
Friday Night Rain
For as long as I can recall I have been attending this Friday night celebration that involves a concert, food and fireworks. This year however the weather decided that none of this was a good idea and despite the best efforts of the Somersworth Festival Association no amount of praying, cajoling or talking to’s would get it to cooperate. I arrived at 7pm to find three of Somersworth’s police officers who by that time were thoroughly soaked and a few of the food vendors and they were all in the process of packing up.
The band Bad Breath Microphone was all set up to play on the stage at Memorial Drive but even they had to admit the weather was winning in this case. It was pretty obvious that the scheduled fireworks were not going to take place that evening.
That does not mean they will be wasted however and there are plans afoot to set the fireworks off on July 8th as well as talk of ice cream sundaes and concerts. Stay tuned as I get more details. I will be sure to let everyone know as soon as plans are firmed up and announcements need to be made.
Saturday Clear Skies And Lot’s Of Fun
So I went home, dried off and prayed for nicer weather for Saturday. Someone must have been listening because the following morning the skies were cloudy but not full of rain, thankfully. I made my way down to Main street on Saturday afternoon and was pleasantly surprised by what I saw.
The area by the library and in front of the plaza was filled with families of all ages who were obviously enjoying all that was on offer for the day. This activities included the ever popular passport center, plenty of vendors with all kinds of goodies for the crowd to enjoy, and several food vendors who were more than happy to serve up some good eats. All day long the the Thomas the Tank Engine look a like could be found chugging it’s way down Main street always filled with happy smiling faces. I have promised myself I will take a ride next year for sure.
One corner of the plaza was taken up by inflatables and zorb balls. The zorb balls were a attraction that was brought to the festival last year and proved to be as popular as ever. On the steps of the library Chief Librarian, Deborah Longo could be found reading stories to a variety of age groups. Judging by the happy faces she was doing a great job as always.
Over the course of the festival several bands took to the stage that was located at the intersection of Station and Main street. Local favorites Acoustic Radio rocked the house as always and I stayed for a while and simply listened before taking a trip up to the other area of the festival, the Noble Pines.
Heading Up The Hill
I could have taken the Coast Bus Trolley but elected to take a ride that was offered this time around. On arriving at the Pines I was again pleasantly surprised by the size of the crowds. The splash pad was proving popular as a way to cool down. Even though it was overcast it was becoming hot.
As always my friends from Wildlife Encounters were present just as they were when I attended my first ever Children’s festival some 17 years ago. At one point I stood on the hill overlooking the Pines and watched as a giant tortoise made a bid for freedom. He was walking straight into the path of Officer Harper, who was one of the Somersworth PD Officers that was could be found on duty that day. Before our large reptilian friend could make his way very far up the hill though he was turned around by Dina Gagnon who looked like she may have missed her true vocation in life as she expertly turned him around. We watched as he made his way back down the hill much to the amusement of many of the festival goers.
One of my favorite areas on the Pines is always the petting zoo and this year it once again did not disappoint. Then again it’s hard to go wrong when you have lama’s, baby goats and donkeys to keep you entertained. The pony rides proved to be another popular attraction. I stopped for a moment and watched a group of younger kids making full use of the skateboarding park before walking down to the stage. There stories were being told and song sung much to the delight of the many families who had taken advantage of the seating and could be found enjoying an ice cream or maybe two.
A Job Well Done
As I made my way home, I reflected on an afternoon well spent. I found myself thinking about the army of volunteers that every year make this and all the other festivals that take place in the city happen. It was great to see so many families downtown and on the Pines enjoying an afternoon of family fun.
The weather was perfect this year (we will just forget about Friday night) and I can’t wait to see what the Somersworth Festival Association puts together for next year. Congratulations to all the volunteers who put so much time into the event on a job very well done! See you all in 2018…