MISQUAMICUT – Fallfest is returning to Misquamicut State Beach in Westerly this weekend.
In its third year, the festival offers family-friendly entertainment, rides, games, food, and more.
The festival opens Friday, Sept. 13 at 5 p.m.
Sadly, this year, there will not be the traditional Friday night fireworks.
Caswell Cooke, executive director of the Misquamicut Business Association, said the fireworks were too expensive – about $4,000 for only 10 minutes, and the association opted to introduce a host of new musicians and events instead.
Cooke said this year there will be an old-fashioned hoedown in the field.
Beginning at 5 p.m. DJ Stella Tunes will perform and from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. The Honeysuckle Hoedown Band will play and instructors from several local dance studios will be on hand to give folks line-dancing lessons.
“It will be a big, outdoor party on the grass,” Cooke said.
There will also be entertainment at the Beer, BBQ and Bands Tent, which is the main stage this year. The tent is located across from Paddy’s by Winnapaug Pond, adjacent to the main Fallfest site. The area, which is for adults age 21 and over, will include “Pondfire” with fire pits in and around the pond.
Entertainment at the tent kicks off Friday at 6:30 p.m. with Ms. Marci and the Lovesick Hounds. At 8:30 p.m., The Soupy Boys with Bobby Christina and members of the Beaver Brown Band and Radio Kings take the stage.
Also on Friday, on the Westerly Hospital Stage, there will be some kid-friendly entertainment beginning at 5 p.m. with Coach Roger and Uncle Bob. Bwana Iguana Reptile Adventure is next at 7 p.m. and the Mercy Bullets take the stage at 8 p.m.
At the demo arena there will be two stunt bike shows, one beginning at 6 p.m. and the second at 7:30 p.m.
Finally, there will be a special showing of “Friday the 13th” at 8 p.m. at the Misquamicut Drive In, located across from Wuskenau Town Beach next to the waterslides. Cost is $10 per car.
Cooke said Living On a Bad Name, a Bon Jovi tribute band, is coming to Fallfest for the first time this year. The band will perform Saturday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m. in the field. Justin Harris is opening for Living On a Bad Name at 6:30 p.m.
There will be musical entertainment all day Saturday beginning at noon at the Beer, BBQ and Bands Tent. Headliners Terry Sylvester of The Hollies performs at 7:30 p.m., followed by Neil and the Vipers featuring Dave Howard at 9 p.m.
Children’s entertainment is endless Saturday at the Westerly Hospital Stage with visits by The Little Mermaid and Cinderella and magic shows throughout the day.
The demo arena will offer martial arts demonstrations, hula-hoop performances and a fire juggler in the evening. Spiderman and SpongeBob will also make appearances at Fallfest.
Fallfest will offer classic car shows Saturday and Sunday beginning at 11 a.m.
Gates for the festival open at 11 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday, however, festivities kick off early Sunday morning, Sept. 15, with the Surftown Half Marathon and 5K, which is being put on by the Hartford Marathon Foundation.
Cooke said the Hartford Marathon Foundation is donating a portion of the race proceeds to the Westerly Chamber of Commerce for its Bring Back the Beach fund, which will fund repairs and renovations at Wuskenau Town Beach.
Cooke said 1,500 runners are participating in the half marathon, which steps off Sunday at 7:30 a.m. and weaves through Misquamicut, Weekapaug and Watch Hill.
Cooke said there would also be fundraising for the WARM Shelter and a boot drive with the “Colors for a Cause” fire truck all weekend.
Also on Sunday, 96.7 FM will host Buzzfest at the main stage beginning at noon. The Catholic Girls will headline Buzzfest with a performance at 2 p.m.
Performances for kids are ongoing at the Westerly Hospital Stage including balloon animal making at 1 p.m.
Throughout the weekend, Cooke said that they are also offering a scavenger hunt for the first time this year. To participate, festival goers must visit at least six out of 10 local businesses, which Cooke said are all having fall sales, and get stamps. Participants will be entered to win round trip airline tickets to Block Island, among other prizes.
Cooke said many people attended Springfest, interested to see whether the beach had recovered from Hurricane Sandy.
“I think we’re back,” he said of the beach and upcoming Fallfest.
If you go:
Tickets are $7 per day. Children under 4 are free and on-site parking is free. The festival takes place at Misquamicut State Beach in Westerly, beginning Friday, Sept.13 at 5 p.m. and ending Sunday, Sept. 15 at 5 p.m. For more information and a $1 off coupon for admission, visit www.misquamicutfestival.org  or www.facebook.com/MisquamicutBeach .