Natick Days Return - For the First Time
By Sean Sullivan
Sadly, summer’s end is in sight, signaling the return to Natick schools, but also Natick Days.
The community festival is a meet-and-greet for local organizations, a venue in which Natick youth and nonprofit groups can tell their story, garner visibility and support.
The September event’s favorites will return for this edition, including an inflatable obstacle gauntlet and pop-up mini golf course at the Morse Institute Library. Natick Days is a stationary parade of sorts, whose “floats” and other features are fixed.Foot traffic dominates the downtown area for the morning and afternoon, as locals and visitors amble around the Natick Common hub and streets that radiate outward. The event will run on Saturday, September 9th, between 10am and 3pm.
Past days have featured attractions like oversized, special-duty trucks for kids to gawk at, face painting, pie eating contests, and a moonwalk.
This month’s Natick Day will be Travis Farley’s first as Deputy Director of the town’s Recreation and Parks Department. He’s been with the agency for about eight months, a division that plays a lead role in bringing the town festival to fruition.
“I’m interested to see how it works out, myself,” he said.
The word “wrinkle” kept recurring in Farley’s phrasing, frequent enough for a listener to likely take notice. While the idiom is typically used to indicate some sort of problem – i.e. a catch, hitch, a snag, a glitch – Farley used the phrase to denote opportunity.
Traversing the topography of experience, then, a wrinkle wasn’t something to trip over, but rather a toehold from which to try new things.
“I think we might add a food truck,” or a ride this time around, said Farley, though he’s mainly viewing this month’s Natick Day as a learning opportunity, a chance to see how the fair unfolds. “We’re just looking to offer some variety for folks that might come.”
Following that comes time for reflection, the chance to see where some wrinkles might add character, make for a more interesting and fun town festival in the future.
“It’s a large-scale event,” said Farley. “Most important for me is to see how it works.”
Town and city fairs have been a staple of American culture for generations, and many municipalities still honor the tradition. While each town’s celebratory day brings its own unique challenges and opportunities, Farley will draw on his eight years working with Norwood, where he helmed the town’s recreation department. He’s also served as president of the Massachusetts Recreation and Park Association.
Natick Days serves as a sort of end-of-summer start to the programming that will coincide with the school year. Farley’s department was at work in August fine tuning and finalizing the town’s autumn catalog and guide, after which the work delves right into planning winter’s without delay.
“I was very impressed with the programming that they do. I’m happy to be a part of it.”
Natick’s Spooktacular and holiday tree lighting are among the bigger draws in months ahead, and like Natick Days, feature the town common as their focal point.
“We’re very seasonally driven for programming,” he said.
“Getting to know the community has been great. It’s a pretty involved and pretty robust department.”