OLDE TOWN DAY: Climb a wall, run a race, enjoy a treat: It’s Olde Towne Day
Friday, October 4, 2013
bout 500 people headed for Riley Field Complex on Nashua Road on Saturday, Sept. 21, to participate in Bedford Olde Towne Day.
The tradition began in 1994 when locals Mary Lou and Bruce Wilson coordinated a network of local organizations, businesses and volunteers to launch the festival.
Today, the enterprise has grown. A core of volunteers blessed with a wealth of organizational skills includes Julie and Pete Feheley, Paula Talmanson, Karen Fischer, Judy Perry, Michele Brisson, and DPW Parks Division’s Kevin Hodgdon and Mike Fortier. An event committee comprised of Sue Fahey, Dianne Kashiwabara, Diane Arzigian and Paul Yergeau begins planning months in advance.
Sue Fahey, treasurer of the Bedford Olde Towne Day Committee for some 10 years, has seen the festival grow. She said around 500 people attended the 2013 event.
“This year’s crowd was not as big as it has been in past years, but the day was beautiful and the 500 or so people who came seemed to really enjoy the day,” Fahey said. “Seeing the huge American flag waving from the top of the fire truck is always an amazing sight.”
She said that everyone found something entertaining to see or do. She especially enjoyed watching people take a test sit upon a police department motorcycle. Many, including a great-grandmother, climbed aboard the Harley.
Fahey said those who attended Bedford Olde Towne Day made a good decision.
“We just give folks one more choice on how to enjoy a beautiful fall day in our town,” Fahey concluded.
Music, food, prizes, raffles, line dancing, martial arts exhibitions and games for kids kept most visitors well entertained.
The Bull Frog Drop drew attention. A multitude of numbered rubber frogs were dropped from a fire department ladder truck by Fire Inspector Scott Hunter. The three frogs bouncing closest to the center of the target area won cash prizes for those in the crowd who held a ticket with the winning number.
Congratulations and checks soon went out from Fahey to Bull Frog Drop winners Addy Bunie, the $100 winner, Bennie Hanauer, who won $75, and Calista Barbowski, the $50 winner.
Parks and Recreation Department Manager Jane O’Brien said more than 45 groups and sponsors helped make the day a success.
“It was a very busy event with a lot of new stuff from the vertical rock climbing attraction from Stratus Prep to the cannolis from Carrabbas Italian Grill, to the avocado wraps from Inside Scoop,” O’Brien said. “We even had fabulous weather.”
The day presented an opportunity to indulge in “The Taste of 2013,” a bounty of tasty items from Carrabbas, Fratello’s, Outback Steakhouse, Shorty’s Mexican Roadhouse, the Inside Scoop and the Weathervane seafood restaurant.
She thanked songstress Lisa Haynes, music emcee, and all the performers who entertained that day. The Haynes Family band, Nina Li, Paul Bordeleau, Bedford Off Broadway and others displayed high energy.
The venue was adorned with a profusion of colorful fall mums, courtesy of the Bedford Garden Club. Members of the Bedford Lion’s Club, staff from the Bedford Public Library and team members from Bedford’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) were on-hand.
Members of the Bedford Historical Society acquainted passersby with the Steven-Buswell Community Center Project – an ongoing effort to preserve and rehabilitate a spacious vintage school building into a multi-function center for the town’s enjoyment. Work there continues thanks to donations and grants.
The day also offered residents a chance to chat with town council members, representatives of the police and fire departments and executives from many area businesses. Inquiries about the establishment of bike paths and walking paths were fielded by members of the Bedford NH Pedestrian andBicycle Committee.
Kids had a chance to go green by bringing live frogs from the wild to the field for an olde-timey Frog Jumping Contest. Debbie Wunsch, of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, along with her husband, Greg, agent Shirly Kula and her husband, Ken, and agent Janice Morin, handed out trophies to kids whose frogs jumped a far distance.
Wunsch said 16 contestants participated in the event. She said it was an event reminiscent of one of Mark Twain’s short stories, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.”
“Everyone had a fun time,” Wunsch said. “It was nice to see so many families and children at the event.”
A variety of activities
O’Brien added that the Bedford Men’s Club provided a bounce-house. The Bedford Lion’s Club held a running race for youngsters who whizzed toward the finish line. Volunteers from the Coalition for Bedford Youth hosted dodge ball and supplied temporary tattoos.
The MOMS Club of Bedford encouraged kids to play in the dirt by hosting a Sandbox Dinosaur Dig that uncovered some interesting, if fake, fossils. In addition, Dental Arts of Bedford hosted a mini-golf game and Bedford’s parent-teacher group sponsored a prize tent.
O’Brien watched as the event wound down and folks made their way to the parking area. She smiled as she noted how many people looked happy.
For more information on Bedford Olde Towne Day, call the Parks and Recreation Department at 472-5242.