By Molly Bello
Prizes, balloons, dance performances, a petting zoo, face painting, and a pageant were among the sights at this year’s annual Autumn-Fest, which marked the 25th anniversary of the event.
The festival is a charity event supporting the Bridgewater Business Association (BBA). It was held on the Boyden Quad of the Bridgewater State University campus on Saturday.
Autumn-Fest brings together the Bridgewater community and students from Bridgewater State, although very few were present. Most of the crowd was families with young children.
Susan McCombe, the director of the Office of University and Community Partnerships had her own table with information about the school and the event. McCombe said she is the liaison between the university and the BBA.
“So many people turned out for the event because it’s a charity,” McCombe said. “It’s a fundraiser for fuel-assistance. [This year] is bigger and better than ever.”
The tents at Autumn-Fest ranged from accessories and cosmetics, to construction companies, to financial services, to apparel. There was also food from Sodexo and local vendors with all sorts of carnival food.
Sue Sousa and her husband Frank Sousa had their own tent at the event. They are independent sellers of Avon cosmetics. Their job at Autumn-Fest was not only to sell their products, but help people start their own businesses and sell Avon.
“We are members of the BBA, so we come every year.” Sousa said. “The most rewarding part for me is meeting new people. People look for me here, they see my [Avon] books everywhere.”
This year was the biggest Autumn-fest has ever been, with the largest BBA presence ever. The event reaches a large audience, and according to the the event webpage, the attendance is always over 5,000 people. It’s the one BBA event that has run since 1984.
“Autumn-Fest is the signature event of the BBA,” said the President of the BBA Nick Palmieri said. “The last 25 years were the most significant Autumn-Fests. It’s just grew and grew.”
Palmieri stressed how big the 25th anniversary of Autumn-Fest was.
“We have the largest membership [in the BBA] ever with 130 members,” Palmieri said. “We are so proud of the reach we have in the surrounding towns, not just in Bridgewater.”
The BBA has members in Hull, and Rhode Island, as well as Bridgewater. This year’s Autumn-Fest had 107 booths and represented a huge number of their members.
“We are so fortunate to have BSU as a partner,” Palmieri said.
Molly Bello is a Comment staff writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.