By Larry Claflin Jr.
If you plan on attending this year's Peabody International Festival — and you should — you'd better be on your toes. Organizers have packed what used to be two weekends of fun into one nonstop day. The long-running event will take place Sept. 12, rather than over two weekends, as in years past.
"By combining Kid's Day with the festival, it will make it more of a family gathering," said Mary Bellavance, administrative assistant to Mayor Michael Bonfanti and a festival organizer.
Kid's Day will take place on the Leather City Common, Lowell Street, from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and will feature bounce houses, a balloon sculptor, face-painters, clowns and other children's entertainment, Bellavance said.
The main International Festival — which has attracted as many as 70,000 people in years past — will coincide with Kid's Day throughout Peabody Square. It will include food, artwork and entertainment from all the cultures that make Peabody special — Irish, Greek, Brazilian, Portuguese, Italian, Jewish, Polish, Caribbean and more.
"We're kind of like a melting pot here," Bellavance said.
The day before the festival, at 9 a.m. Sept. 11, the Progeria Race for Research will kick off in front of City Hall. The 5K run raises money to search for a cure for progeria, a rare, fatal genetic condition characterized by an appearance of accelerated aging in children. The race will take place rain or shine.
IF YOU GO
What: 27th International Festival
Where: Peabody Square
When: Sunday, Sept. 12, from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (rain date, Sept. 26)
Cost: Free to attend, food extra