Fulton Pond Festival map

A map of the Fall Festival at Fulton Pond.

MANSFIELD — It’s the first of what is hoped will be an annual event in town.

The inaugural Fall Festival at Fulton Pond off Rumford Avenue and West Street is scheduled to kick off Friday night with a “pre-event” from 6:30 and 8:30, and carry on Saturday, from noon to 5 p.m., with a multitude of free activities.

Local officials have been wanting to offer a family-oriented event for residents and nonresidents with art, culture, food, entertainment and history. The idea is to bring the community together and showcase the rehabilitation work done around Fulton Pond.

On Friday there will be free Ferris wheel rides, fire cauldrons, flaming lanterns on the pond, fire jugglers and drumming.

On Saturday there will be free Ferris wheel rides, llama petting, face painting, pictures with antique cars, Copeland House tours, local food for sale, a beer garden serving craft brews, and an arts and craft fair.

The event has been organized by a subcommittee of the the town’s Downtown Committee.

Town Manager Kevin Dumas has played a key role spearheading it and select board members have enthusiastically supported it.

“We’re really excited. Most of the Fulton area work has been completed, and we really want to highlight the area,” Dumas said, describing it as a “beautiful public area.” “We would like to do it on an annual basis going forward. It’s something unique and very different.”

“This is a very ambitious plan. It’s being pulled together in a very short time. I think it’s just great,” board member Neil Rhein said. “We’ve been talking about revitalizing downtown. Hopefully this is the first of many future events like this.”

Some neighbors of Fulton Pond have been worried about crowds and parking, and questioned how so many activities can fit into a limited space. But town officials, including police, have reached out to them and have been working to address concerns, Dumas said.

Part of Rumford Avenue will be closed, affecting a few homes.

For more information, including maps and resident notices, visit the town website, www.mansfieldma.com.

Stephen Peterson can be reached at 508-236-0377.

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