2016-09-23 / JT Beacon

Wells Reserve kicks off fall season with Punkinfiddle


Children dance during a musical performance at the 13th Punkinfiddle Family Festival in 2015. The 14th festival will take place at the Wells Reserve at Laudholm on Saturday, Sept. 24. 
SUBMITTED PHOTO Children dance during a musical performance at the 13th Punkinfiddle Family Festival in 2015. The 14th festival will take place at the Wells Reserve at Laudholm on Saturday, Sept. 24. SUBMITTED PHOTO WELLS — The fall season is fast approaching, and the Wells Reserve at Laudholm will be greeting it with the 14th Punkinfiddle Family Festival on Saturday, Sept. 24.

The festival, held annually on the last Saturday of September, began in 2003 as a celebration of the Town of Wells’ 305th birthday, and has remained a popular and well-attended event each year. This year’s anticipated attendance is 2,500.

“We try to kick off the fall season with this festival to get kids and families out into what I think is the best season,” said Nik Charov, chairman of the Wells Reserve and president of the Laudholm Trust. “The trees are already at that point in full color; it’s just a great thing to experience.”

Aside from ushering in the fall season, the festival holds other purposes as well. Punkinfiddle always coincides with National Estuaries Day, so it acts as a method to raise awareness on the importance and beauty of estuaries – the tidal openings where rivers meet the sea.

Attendees are encouraged to hike the seven miles of trails along the Wells Reserve while checking out the reserve’s three estuaries: the Webhannet River estuary, the Little River estuary and the Ogunquit River estuary .

Other events will be plentiful and spread throughout the day.

“We’ll have sheep herding, games out in the field, book readings and signings, lots of animals for a petting zoo, hayrides and scavenger hunting, scarecrow making and pumpkin decorating,” Charov said. “There’s just so much going on, it’s really an incredible day up here.”

The festival will also feature a farmers’ market, plus live music from four bands on the Laudholm solar-powered stage from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Set to perform are Seagrass, a five-piece bluegrass group based out of southern Maine, and Laurel Martin and Jim Prendergast, a Celtic music duo from Boston and New Hampshire, respectively. Other musical performers will be announced before the festival.

Charov said every year brings memorable moments.

“(Last year), it was the sheep herding on the south lawn… people gathered to watch the dogs in action. It’s the only time we allow dogs here,” he said. “They were so well trained, and what they can do with the sheep, how fast and smart they are – you just sit there and think, ‘Wow.’”

Guests will be able to purchase food from vendors such as Duffy’s Tavern and Grill of Kennebunk, which will be serving lunch, Arundel Ice Cream and The Cider Donut Co.

Punkinfiddle is non-commercial, and logos will be hard to come by on festival day, according to Charov.

“It’s a festival about the history of this place and our town, but also a festival about what we do now, studying estuaries and nature every day,” Charov said. “It’s a kitchen sink festival; there’s something for everyone.”

Cost of entry is $7; free for children under 16. Members of the Laudholm Trust will pay the discounted price of $5. The festival will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. rain or shine.

For more information, visit wellsreserve.org/punkinfiddle or call the Wells Reserve at Laudholm at 646–1186.

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