It started simply enough. A bunch of North Attleboro firefighters got together in the late 1970s to run an Oktoberfest to raise money for their union and other worthy causes.
It was successful enough to make them want to do it again, mainly because the organizer they hired to supply the equipment left town with all the profits, sticking the firefighters with the bills.
“We had to do something to pay all the creditors,” one of the original organizers said.
The following year, they did it again and invited the kids from Paul A. Dever State School for the afternoon. So they called it Kids Day.
Then they decided to dig out equipment and game booths that the Attleboro Falls Community Association once used for their Frontier Night.
So the annual event became known as Kids Day and Frontier Night, spreading from a couple of days to three and then four. Along the way, it became perhaps the area’s biggest summer festival, featuring not just carnival rides, food and music but a firetruck parade, a road race and two nights of spectacular fireworks.
Kids Day, as it is now simply called, has had its ups and downs over the years.
There was the year Kids Day had to move from its first location, Mason Field, to North Attleboro High School. While sharing the grounds with a dog show, firefighters got soaked with three days of rain.
They learned a major lesson — hay and water don’t mix. The hay they used to absorb the water on the field became quite unpleasant when the sun finally came out.
Rain, in fact, has become such a part of Kids Day that rainclouds have been incorporated into the official logo.
The 40th annual event was scheduled for 2020. Like everything else last year, the festival was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
That’s why it’s heartening to hear that the firefighters are planning to bring back Kids Day this summer.
Given the OK from health officials to conduct the event, the festival is scheduled for July 22-25 in the parking lot of North Attleboro Middle School, where it’s been held the last few years.
The firefighters association warns that this year’s festival will be a scaled-back event due to the lack of planning time. However, the hugely popular carnival rides will return with assurances from the operators that they will be safe and sanitized. Exactly what will be on the schedule is expected to be announced soon.
We’re glad to see another local tradition returning after a year off. It’s good to know that more money will be raised for local charities.
Most of all, it’s wonderful to get another sign that the deadly virus that has ruled our lives for the past year is finally loosening its grip on us.