Popular local bands will return to downtown Farmington July 15-17, provided it’s safe to hold the Greater Farmington Founders Festival.
The iconic and controversial summer event was canceled in 2020, due to COVID-19 safety concerns. A few weeks later, the Greater Farmington Area Chamber dropped the event after managing it for seven years.
In December, City of Farmington and Downtown Development Authority (DDA) officials signed agreements that put 360 Event Productions, owned by Julie Law, in charge for the next two years. Bubbling with enthusiasm, Mayor Sara Bowman said Monday that the downtown event will “bring back the iconic events Founders Festival has always sponsored.”
“This is the parade, this is the 5K, this is the bingo tent,” she said. “I’m just so excited to see what (Law has) been able to accomplish with her mighty team behind her.”
Law said this year’s main stage line-up will start with Local Heroes on Thursday, Fifty Amp Fuse on Friday, and Square Pegs on Saturday. She said School of Rock Farmington will perform during the day. The popular Fido Fest activities will return, with the Ultimate Air Dogs pool on the south side of the Walter Sundquist Farmington Pavilion.
“With Fido Fest being downtown, we’re going to make our beer tent dog friendly,” Law said. “We will have shade tents and swimming pools for dogs to cool off during the day.”
Festival grounds encompass an area from Grove Street to Farmington Road, largely in the Downtown Farmington Center. Food trailers and the beer tent will sit in the parking lot north of Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, and vendors will set up on Farmington Road. Activities for kids will include bounce houses and Touch-A-Truck along State Street.
Law said LOC Credit Union has signed on to sponsor a 5K Color Run, and she’s in talks with Beaumont Health, which has for years sponsored Saturday’s parade. Council member Maria Taylor asked about participation from other local businesses.
“We are definitely engaging sponsors from the past,” Law said. “With getting the footprint approved, we will start to send out communications to business owners inviting them to participate.”
When mayor pro tem Joe LaRussa asked about a “go/no-go date”, Law seemed optimistic. She said the state’s theme right now appears to be getting things open.
“Anything can change. We’re also seeing other cities and other events moving forward,” she said. “If we had to pull the plug, 30 to 45 days out is when we would start to feel like something was terribly going wrong. We won’t operate anything until we’re allowed to, and we can deal with capacities.”
360 Event Productions has begun to accept applications from vendors and for the parade. To learn more, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can keep up with Founders Festival developments at foundersfestival.com or on Facebook.