Bellingham Days - Family Fun, Games & Fireworks! Municipal Spotlight
The Bellingham Days Committee includes, from left, Denis Fraine, Cindy McNulty and Kelly Grant.
By KEN HAMWEY, Contributing Writer
“Let the good times roll’’ is an adage that could easily be applied to what will be transpiring in Bellingham from Aug. 11-13.
That’s when Bellingham Days will be happening, and for those not familiar with the event, it’s “a long weekend series of events at the Memorial School designed to engage all members of the community in a fun and celebratory way.’’ That’s how Kelly Grant, a member of the Select Board, defines the action-packed three days.
Grant, Cindy McNulty, who’s also a member of the Select Board, and Town Administrator Denis Fraine form a committee of three that have selected the activities that include something for all age brackets.
The fair-like event starts on Thursday (Aug. 11) at 8 a.m. with a nine-hole golf tourney at New England Country Club. Also beginning Thursday and continuing through Saturday is a carnival, featuring rides and food. Times for the carnival, which will be managed by Rockwell Amusements, are 5-10 p.m. Thursday and Friday and all-day Saturday.
Besides the carnival on Friday, a concert, sponsored by the Bellingham Public Library and funded through a grant provided by the Bellingham Cultural Council, will be held at the Memorial School field starting at 6:30 p.m.
Saturday will feature the carnival, a cornhole tourney, a concert and fireworks. The cornhole tournament will start at noon, the concert is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. and fireworks will start at 9:30 p.m.
“The cornhole tourney could run all day long until a champion is crowned,’’ Fraine said. “At last year’s inaugural Bellingham Days, there were 100 participants competing in that event.’’ PJ’s Bar & Grill will be providing food and beverages at the cornhole event.
There is no cost to attend the events, but there are fees for carnival riders, golfers and cornhole participants. A limited number of discount passes for carnival rides is available at the library.
A portion of money raised from Bellingham Days will be donated to Our PlayAbility, a fund-raising group that’s aiming to build a playground at Stallbrook School. “The group is working to create a more inclusive world by bringing accessible play to community schools,’’ Grant said. “The playground will feature equipment that’s uniquely designed for children with disabilities.’’
Twenty percent of the revenue generated by carnival rides and the golf tourney will go to Our PlayAbility.
Bellingham Days started last year and Fraine was the catalyst. He said the concept was offered as “a way to put the pandemic in our rear-view mirror.’’
“The July 4 fireworks were canceled twice because of COVID-19,’’ Fraine noted. “We also were forced to cancel the Memorial Day parade for two consecutive years, schools were in remote learning and there were no school sports in the spring of 2020.’’
McNulty emphasized that “it’s a way to bring the community together, to be outside and to celebrate our community with a lot of options.’’
There will be no pandemic restrictions since all the events are outdoors, but if anyone prefers to wear a mask, that’s a personal choice. Volunteers will be at all booths and they’ll include Fraine, Grant, seniors and some from the Our PlayAbility contingent. Fire Department personnel will be on hand for any emergencies or if First-Aid is required. And there will be a security presence.
If inclement weather occurs, the events for Thursday and Friday would be canceled but if poor weather strikes on Saturday, then the carnival, cornhole tourney, concert and fireworks would be rescheduled to Sunday.
Here’s how McNulty and Grant summed up their feelings about Bellingham Days making its second appearance:
“I’m thrilled to see this event return,’’ McNulty said. “Last year, we were able to donate $5,000 to the Council on Aging and another $5,000 to the Memorial and Veterans Day Committee. We’re looking forward to a great partnership with the Our PlayAbility group and pleased to have the opportunity to make the playground a reality.’’
“I’m looking forward to seeing all the kids and their parents enjoy a weekend together,’’ Grant said. “Last year, I remember the kids smiling. And, they were smiling all day long. It’s so much fun to participate.’’
Bellingham Days, hopefully, will become a symbol for life in the post-pandemic era.