BURRILLVILLE – It will be both a celebration of the village’s seemingly bright future and a tribute to its rich past.
The Burrillville Redevelopment Agency will host the Fountain Square Spring Splash on Saturday, May 20, a party to mark the completion of the latest improvements to downtown Pascoag.
The event will feature games and activities for all ages such as carriage rides and face painting, food and drink with specials and promotions by area businesses – moved out onto the sidewalks especially for the festivities, along with entertainment, vendors and more.
And officials will reveal a new attraction at the center of the celebration, a fountain in keeping with similar structures once situated throughout the town, along with a “square,” of surrounding amenities, landscaping and grounds.
“The purpose of the event is two fold: open the park and bring attention to the area businesses,” said Jim Langlois, chairman of the Redevelopment Agency.
The fountain itself – a working five and a half-foot-tall, roughly 950-pound structure – is a near replica of one once used to provide water for horses traveling through the village. The original fountain was in the center of the square where South Main and High Street meet Sayles Avenue and Pascoag Main Street. Produced by Jenks Machinery of Pawtucket, it was fed from an underground source from Union Pond, then located behind Granite Mill.
Langlois noted that the agency has several pieces of the old fountain and originally hoped to restore it, but the artifact was ultimately missing too many elements to make it functional.
Its 2023 replacement a, “florentine fountain,” made of cast resin, will be installed on Pascoag Main Street between the large, brick former bank building, now a division of Well One, and Bravo Brewing Company.
“It’s not an exact replica but it is close,” said Langlois. “It’s modern, but has an old time flare to it.”
A small stone plaza will surround it, featuring benches and two storyboards, including one about similar structures once present throughout Burrillville.
“We have identified where all of the fountains were throughout the community and there’s a little bit on the history of each one,” Langlois said.
The second storyboard will feature pictures of life on Pascoag Main Street from the post World War II era from the 1950s through the 1970s. The agency worked with the Burrillville Historical and Preservation Society to obtain some of the information, and also did their own research, including a call out to the community for pictures.
Water in the fountain will be set on a timer and also used to wet new greenery surrounding the park, including plants and cherry trees.
“It basically going to supply an irrigation system,” Langlois said.
The fountain is currently in storage with the Department of Public Works while organizers await weather nice enough to install the pavers below. The full mini-park is expected to be open by the first week of May, weather permitting.
One element already in place at the park is a new bandshell, complete with a roof and lighting, a 20 X 17 structure a bit smaller than a full stage.
And on May 20, the agency will close off Main Street between The Bridgeway and the new Fountain Square to celebrate the achievement, along with other progress made in Pascoag in recent years. All of the vendors on Main Street will participate in the event, including newcomers Elayna’s bar and just last weekend, Thai Wok Street Food.
“We are happy to have them open,” Langlois said.
“I’m encouraged with the participation on Main Street,” he added. “We’re very happy with that. It’s taking on a life of it’s own.”
Bravo Brewing is a co-sponsor of the event and participating vendors also include Pascoag Hose Company – offering a meet and greet as well as a chance to check out the trucks – along with Liberty Farms, Cow’s Tail Deli, Pascoag Utility District and Well One. Langlois noted that the agency has had “full support,” from the town of Burrillville and the Burrillville Police Department, which will help the celebration to run smoothly.
DJ WiseVlad will spin tunes, and The Live Music Band will also perform after a short speaking ceremony. The agency also plans to announce its next big project in Pascoag: extending the riverwalk over to High Street.
It will be a party beneath the Pascoag’s twinkling lights, installed last year as another piece of the agency’s revitalization efforts in the village.
Langlois noted that the agency also plans to launch a contest with the lights, with a table where guests are invited to submit their birthday and the color they’d like to see once it arrives to help celebrate.
“They’ve been a big hit,” he said of the lights, installed last May.
Such features – and events – he noted all fall well under the banner of redevelopment.
“Redevelopment is more than building new buildings and demolishing old ones,” said Langlois. “Redevelopment is also facilitating the business community to improve and grow, and events like this certainly help that.”
The Fountain Square Spring Splash will take place along Pascoag Main Street on Saturday, May 20 from 4-9 p.m. The rain date for the event is Saturday, June 3.
Read more about the history of Fountain Square here.