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The Autumnfest countdown begins

September 2, 2013

WOONSOCKET – It is that time again — time to buy your Autumnfest button.

Tim Paul, chairman of the Autumnfest Steering Committee, was putting out that message on Friday, even as the city cleaned up from a big and successful Main Street Block Party celebrating the city’s 125th anniversary.

“Basically, we are just starting out, and began selling the buttons at the Anniversary Celebration from our booth in the Mullen Parking Lot near the King’s Row stage Thursday night,” he said. The Autumnfest volunteers sold 300 buttons during the event and also raised money for the Oct. 11-14 festival selling water, Autumnfest souvenirs, and tickets for a 50-50 raffle.

The volunteers also gave out information to people about the planned special events, such as the new Mega War “tug o’war” competition to be held on the park beach on Sunday, organized by Richard and Cheryl Savaria of North Smithfield and sponsored by The Call and Ciro’s Restaurant; the 5k Race Against Racism Sunday morning, put on by the local YWCA; and the popular Autumnfest Kids Challenge, organized by Nancy Phillips and Call Publisher Mary Lynn Bosiak and sponsored by The Call and Simon Chevrolet.

All of those events are currently taking signups, and forms are available at The Call, Simon Chevrolet, Ciro’s Tavern on Cherry and the YWCA on Blackstone Street.

The annual festival at World War II Veterans Memorial State Park on Columbus Day Weekend will mark its own milestone, the 35th edition of Autumnfest this year, and the buttons sold to raise money will have a special design denoting that fact, Paul said.

The buttons cost $1 each, and people can buy as many as they wish for a chance to win the big prize offered each year or the three smaller cash prizes.

This year, the grand prize, sponsored by WNRI, is a four-day, three-night stay in Orlando, Fla., with airfare and accommodations paid for two people, Paul said.

The cash prize drawings are for $300, $200 and $100. The grand prize winning button number will be drawn at 6 p.m. as the festival ends on Columbus Day. If a new number needs to be drawn, it will be listed on WNRI’s website every day through November, until a winner is found.
“Two years ago the winner was sitting in the front row in the audience near the park stage when we drew the number, but sometimes it takes almost to the end of November to find a winning button,” he said.
The buttons can also be purchased at several locations around the city, including Pepin Lumber, L’il General stores, The Call, Milford Savings, City Hall, and Wright’s Dairy Farm.

Anyone wishing to sell buttons at an area business or organization can contact Paul to make those arrangements by calling 401-744-5989.
Paul said plans are also being finalized for other highlights of this year’s festival. The steering committee is completing work on remaining contracts and licenses for the festival and assigning vendors their locations.

The headliner performance for Saturday evening has already been set, and this year is actually an expanded show from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., a “Doo Wop Spectacular” starring the Legendary Teenagers, the Chiffons, and Dicky Doo and the Don’ts featuring Gerry Granahan, all performing with the Coast-to-Coast band, emceed by Todd Baptista.

Fireworks go off Sunday near World War II Veterans Memorial State Park at 9 p.m.

WOON Radio’s Dave Richards is this year’s grand marshal, and the Autumnfest Parade will step off on Monday from Woonsocket Plaza on Diamond Hill Road at 9:30 a.m. and make its way down Social Street to Autumnfest’s main reviewing stand at the park.

Paul said the committee is near securing a headline performance for the parade that will be announced when arrangements are completed.
More information on Autumnfest, its many vendors and entertainment performances and special events can be found at www.autumnfest.org.

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