Visitors of this year’s Faire on the Square will see some changes, including new rides, entertainers, food truck and — organizers hope — beer and wine.
The 2018 Faire is the 20th annual Town celebration. It will be held on Sept. 22 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will once again take place around Town Hall. In an effort to liven the event, organizers have brought in some new elements.
Dan McCarthy, who has been in charge of the entertainment at the Faire for 18 years, took over this year as the chair of the organizing committee. To get ideas, he visited other fairs and town days in surrounding towns.
“I visited as many fairs and town days as I could: Belmont, Lexington and the Cambridge Riverfest, which is the biggest with four different live performance stages,” McCarthy said. “I was happy to come back and know that Watertown always presents a nice fair with plenty of entertainment.”
He also saw, however, that Watetown’s Faire mostly attracts families with young children, who are attracted to the rides and children’s entertainment.
“We are looking for something to attract everyone from Millennials to people in their 40s, 50s and 60s,” McCarthy said.
Organizers will go to the Town to request a beer and wine license, McCarthy said, with plans to create a beer garden on the basketball court outside the Watertown Boys & Girls Club.
The main entertainment stage will move to the stage used during the Watertown Summer Concerts, McCarthy said.
“It was the suggestion of John Donohue (owner of Donohue’s Bar & Grill) that the people in the beer garden need entertainment,” McCarthy said. “They will face the field and entertain the people on the basketball court.”
The lineup includes Street Magic Acapella, Russo’s singing sensation Gilly Assuncao and Bob Segar tribute band Live Bullet.
McCarthy also wanted to upgrade the non-musical performances.
“I also went out and found Faneuil Hall type street performers,” McCarthy said. “I saw them the Cambridge Riverfest and I was amazed by what they could do. You could see the smiles on people’s faces.”
Food options will also get a boost with the addition of some food trucks, including Revelry Food Truck, which serves New Orleans inspired dishes, and Asian food truck, Bon Me.
The kids have not been left behind, either. McCarthy said he wanted to improve the rides and children’s activities.
“We changed vendors and upgraded,” McCarthy said. “We will have more rides, and better ones, such as a mini roller coaster, a 100 foot slide and a train ride that we haven’t had for a while.”
For older kids, there will be a rock climbing wall. The children’s area will move to the Watertown Library’s parking lot.
The Faire’s hours will be slightly shortened, with a start time of 11 a.m. instead of 10 a.m., McCarthy said, because the crowds were light for the first hour. There is also a rain date of Sept. 29, so that the entire event does not have to be cancelled.
With the changes, McCarthy said he hopes the regular vendors and community groups will once again get tables and new ones will join them. The fee will rise a bit, too. Tables for arts & crafts, food, businesses and commercial vendors cost $80 for Watertown residents and $90 for non-residents. Space for individuals, seniors, civic, social & cultural, religious and non-profits cost $65 for residents and $75 for non-residents. The deadline to guarantee a table is Sept. 7, 2018. Also after that date, tables will cost an additional $25.
One change that did not occur was a new location for the Faire.
“Town Council President Mark Sideris approached me at the end of last year’s Faire about being chair of the committee,” McCarthy said. “We floated the idea of moving the Faire to Charles River Road. It would be nice to have kayaking and scenery. We never got a call back from the DCR so it was a non-starter.”
For more information go to faireonthesquare.com