Downtown Stoneham was transformed into a fairground on Saturday, as thousands flocked to the where dozens of tents occupied by local businesses and organizations were set up for the 28th annual Stoneham Town Day.
Tent tops, food stands and crowds of people were all you could see from the front of Stoneham Town Hall, which was adorned with a large American flag to celebrate the occasion.
Opposite Town Hall, on the other side of the town common, a stage was erected for musical performances sponsored by radio station . Music fans covered the lawn at the stage’s base for acts that included Brett Dennen, Augustana and Kingsley Flood.
At nearby Emerson Street, a “Kid’s Korner” featured carnival rides and games, such as speed pitch, a teacup ride and a merry-go-round.
Food vendors formed a corridor along Central Street, serving sausages, french fries, candied apples, ice cream and fried dough to hungry crowds.
With hot dogs in their hands and face paint on their cheeks, people weaved through the tents parked on Town Common, stopping at booths to play games, to enter raffles and to grab goodies.
“It’s controlled chaos,” Stoneham Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sharon Iovanni joked, adding that she had encountered no obstacles, that things were running smoothly and that she was “having a blast.”
Organized by the Stoneham Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with the Town of Stoneham, Iovanni said that Town Day provided local businesses and organizations an opportunity to introduce themselves to residents.
“It’s an opportunity to bring people from Stoneham together,” Iovanni said, “for them to get familiar with local business, and to support local nonprofits."
Booth hosts and attendees alike seemed to be enjoying the beautiful weather and lively atmosphere.
At the Stoneham Democratic Town Committee booth, where members talked to residents, passed out campaign information and registered voters, Jim Sinclair said he was having a “great time.”
Located just feet away from the Stoneham Democratic Town Committee booth was the Stoneham Republican Town Committee, where congressional candidates Dr. Gerry Dembrowski and Jeff Semon shook hands and talked with passerbys.
Donald Smith of the Stoneham Republican Town Committee said they were there to “inform citizens and to bring awareness to the folks,” and added that he’d already attracted several new members.
Around the corner, the Stoneham Stoneham Youth Hockey booth invited individuals to try their luck at shooting a puck and to enter a raffle for the chance to win hockey sticks signed by Boston Bruins players.
Youth Hockey coach Michael Krasco said they were there to raise awareness and increase registration among young players-to-be.
“A lot of first-time kids and parents don’t know about the program,” Krasco said. “Stoneham’s recognized statewide for its learn-to-play and learn-to-skate programs.”
Stoneham businesses, the Martial Arts Center and Human Harmonies Health Center, shared a booth.
Body Mind Systems provided Town Day attendees an opportunity to win free classes with the spin of a wheel, while Human Harmonies Manager Lisa Martin handed out information on the fitness and breathing meditation programs offered at the center.
Body Mind Systems Assistant Instructor Michael Scerra said the martial arts center wanted to “attract more student to learn about the martial arts.”
Martin said that she wanted Stoneham residents to learn more about the programs she offers, which are “directed toward healing and putting the body back together.”
According to Iovanni, there were a total of 123 booths at this year’s fair and the police had estimated that 5,000 people would attend.
Iovanni predicted that because of this year’s association with 92.5 The River and , people from communities as far as New Hampshire and the South Shore would attend.
Those who did not attend missed out on a successful Stoneham Town Day, but they have something to look forward to: the 29th annual Stoneham Town Day is less than a year away.
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