Photos: ‘Awesome turnout,’ small business support & true family fun on display at GBA event

Steve and Amy Mallet with Chloe, 2, and Quinn, 7.

GLOCESTER – Sounds of dozens of playing children – squealing, shouting, splashing – filled the sunny field at Mulberry Vineyards in Chepachet on Sunday, June 23. It seemed the clock temporarily turned back to what might have been a more carefree time when the 1730 Andrew Brown homestead was built.

Husband-and-wife David and Melissa Wright of the vineyards had opened for the Glocester Business Association for the third annual Family Fun Day.

GBA’s Hilary Collings and Kady Rogler with David and Melissa Wright.

“When the day started, my kid asked if any others were coming, then soon all the youngsters were surrounded by all their friends,” said Melissa Wright, describing the successful turnout. 

Steven and Amy Mallet turned out with their children, seven year old Quinn and Chloe, age two.

“It’s amazing,” Amy Mallet said of the family day.  “This should happen more often. It’s just what everyone needs – community connection. After COVID, we certainly need it,” she said. 

Youngsters were engaged in a flurry of fun in the hot sun including sliding down into water, bouncing in an inflatable house, downing blueberry pie for a prize, and riding and petting patient animals.

Donations were requested for the Glocester Animal Shelter, which was one of the objectives of the Family Fun Day. The “trifecta” purpose of the event was to provide opportunity for families to enjoy the property and to support local small businesses, as well as to help the animals at the shelter, explained GBA president Hilary Collings. The event was a, “wonderful combination,” said David Wright because, “at a fair you don’t always have opportunity to do all three.” 

Enjoying the day in back, from right to left, were Craig Reynolds and Jamie Breton, with Lydia Reynolds holding 4-month-old McKenzie, Kim Breton and 4-year-old Josie.

Business owners participated by showcasing what they have to offer, and some had time to have fun with their own families, including Dave Silva from Who Cut The Cheesecake, a gourmet pastry and ice cream shop, who brought his children, David noted. 

Parents kept an eye on the kiddos as the little ones played, and families sprawled out and kicked back at sun-drenched picnic tables, or on blankets in the shade. 

Collings said she had just learned that the June 23 date coincided with National Family Owned and Operated Business Day. Held annually, and created in 2021 by the AG Center, a Californian agricultural corporation, the day is meant to, “salute the family-owned and operated businesses that have survived over time despite numerous challenges and setbacks in the market economy.”

“Many people find family-owned businesses more customer-friendly, approachable, and trustworthy than large consortium,” notes the NationalToday website.

David Wright summed up the small, business-friendly day at the vineyards as, “an awesome turnout, weather perfect, and the busiest Family Fun Day we’ve had.” He estimated about 1,000 people attended.

“Every car was loaded with four to five people; that’s 200 cars in our parking lot,” Wright said.

Marlando McFarlane, visiting the vineyard from North Scituate, called the day, “full of fun, a family event, with perfect turnout.” He said he wants more Family Fun Days that he deemed, “well-needed and well-deserved.” 

Cade and Jaclyn Almendinger, of Chepachet, with 2-month-old Viggo.

One of the families enjoying the day was relatively new to Glocester, Cade and Jaclyn Allmendinger and their two-month old baby, Viggo. Before moving into town, the couple was seeking the small town life in, “a cute New England small town that’s walkable,” said Cade.

“We love coming here, seeing local businesses, and it’s very family-oriented – nice that we can bring Viggo here,” said Jaclyn.

Nestled at the edges of the field, and not far from neat rows of grapevines, were displays from local businesses showing their products and offering their services.

Family Fun Day, “kicks off the summer,” said GBA’s Vice President Kady Rogler. The annual event,  “is a community event, for friends and family, and to showcase our businesses,“ Rogler noted.

She said the Wrights of Mulberry Vineyards, “are so gracious. They allow GBA to utilize this property. They do incredible things for this town.”  

Chepachet’s Kim Bretton, a parent who said she’s accustomed, “to driving 45 minutes to an hour to do fun things,” was pleased the family fun was in her own backyard noting she was, “not obligated to stay all day.” Rather than driving far, right in Glocester, “the water things, the pony rides, bounce house, and the temporary tattoos,” were available for the children. 

Gabriel and Adina Grisson of Glocester found the family day, “amazing, entertaining and accommodating.”

Gabriel and Adina Grisson with Camden, age 6. NRI NOW photo by Karen Iacobbo.

“I’ve never seen them overwhelmed, even when very busy inside,” said Gabriel of the Wrights. “It’s a very laid back environment.”

The environment the Wrights created was, “very hospitable,” with, “multiple activities engaging all the children,” said Adina. 

Two ladies looked like they were kicking back as they were conversing, sitting in the shade, and sipping from cold beverages. 

Jeanne Hessler, left, with Maggie Takita.

“Everything is here you could want,” said GBA’s Jeanne Hessler, who is with Citizen’s Bank. “The kids get to enjoy it. And the sangria is amazing.”

Maggie Takita, from Burrillville like Hessler, and said of the family event, “It’s a beautiful day, and nice breezes. I like watching the horse and carriage.”

Consensus was the day was entertaining and laid back. What’s more, “it’s philanthropic,” said Kady Rogler.

GBA’s Kady Rogler with husband Nathan Rogler and children Jackson, 6,, Josie, 2, and 6 month old Jameson.

“Items and cash were donated for the animal shelter,” and she said. “It’s unreal to see the turnout and support our businesses received.” 

“It’s the best turnout” for the event thus far, agreed Nathan Rogler.  

Jason Rogler’s nieces and nephews, “were running around, and eating pie,” and his sister-in-law Katie had helped to put the event together.  He took a moment in the hot parking lot to describe his classic car — an 1958 Edsel Citation he’s owned for more than a dozen years. Family Fun Day, and presumably the good weather, afforded him “an opportunity to take the car out and stretch its legs.”  

Apparently the Edsel, as well as hundreds of happy-looking children and their relaxed-looking elders – whether parents, business owners, or others folks – seemed to enjoy the family fun. 

Jason Rogler with his Edsel.
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