Autumnfest starts in earnest this morning at 10 a.m., though a couple of concerts earlier in the week whet reveler's whistles.
On Friday, vendors, ride operators and road crews were busy setting up for the three-day celebration of food, rides, games and music at World War II Memorial Park. Locals eager to enjoy the attractions strolled through or lolled according to their whim.
Near East School Street, Charles DiChiaro, Colleen MacKenzie and her son Jacob, along with their dogs Fritz, a shih tzu, and Hutch, a shih tzu mix, were enjoying a temporarlily unoccupied hill overlooking a patch of rides that will soon be fired up for throngs of eager Autumnfest patrons.
"We're coming tonight," Colleen said, for the evening's concert, Steve Malec & The Electric Flood, opening up for Doors tribute band, "Through The Doors" at the Beergarden.
"I'll be here every afternoon, eating," said DiChiaro.
Near the music stage, Arlene Claflin and Bob Ducharme were walking through the park, taking in the bustling workers setting up for the long weekend. They said they were excited about Autumnfest.
"We've been coming every year since it started," Claflin said, 30 years ago.
In case you missed it earlier this week, here's a breakdown of the highlights for the weekend's events (check the Autumnfest website for details):
Saturday, Oct. 6 (10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.)
Autumnfest's headliner act, Rock N’ Roll Hall of Famers Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, will perform at 8 p.m.
Charlie Thomas, on lead vocals, takes you through a journey of iconic songs including There Goes My Baby, Under The Boardwalk, This Magic Moment, On Broadway, Save The Last Dance For Me, Sweets for My Sweet, Up On The Roof and more than nineteen albums of recognizable songs.
Sunday, Oct. 7 (10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.)
Race Against Racism - Don't forget to register for the Race Against Racism 5K The entry fee is $25, and $27 the day of the race.
Start/Finish: World War II Memorial State Park in Woonsocket
7:30 a.m. Registration / T-Shirt and Race Packet Pick Up
8:45 a.m. Welcome and Warm Up
9 a.m. 5K Race Start
Fireworks - A pyrotechnic display will be put on by Pyro Engineering, 9 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 8 (10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.)
Autmnfest parade - The Autumnfest Parade will kick off at 9:30 a.m. sharp on Diamond Hill Road Oct. 8.
This year's parade will feature 18 bands, including the Woonsocket High School Band, Mount Saint Charles Academy Senior Band and the Hills-Mills Comedy Clown Band.
The parade also boosts at least 11 floats from local organizations including the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, the Knights of Columbus and St. James Baptist Church.
Autumnfest button drawing -Button sales are going well, said Paul. This year's grand prize drawing at 6 p.m. will award the winner a trip to Florida, sponsored by WNRI Radio. The trip includes airfare for two and four days, three nights in Orlando, Fla.
There are also second, third and fourth-place cash prizes: $300, $200 and $100, respectively, Paul said.
Lastly, the 50/50 Autumfest button raffle should be big one this year, Paul said. This year the sales are better than in 2011, when the prize was $800. For 2012, he said he expects the prize to be at least $1,000.