Inaugural Franklin Farm 5K joins Harvest Festival & Tractor Show

Inaugural Franklin Farm 5K joins Harvest Festival & Tractor Show

Road race is Sept. 28

CUMBERLAND – You can add running to the list of activities to do at Franklin Farm’s Harvest Festival & Tractor Show.

The inaugural Franklin Farm 5K will take place on Saturday, Sept. 28, at 9 a.m. at the historic farm and homestead on Abbott Run Valley Road, and it’s an event that promises to not only become a hit with the running community, but also for families and walkers as well.

The 3.1-mile race was created by a familiar face in the community, Brad Dean, who is the CEO of Dean Warehouse Services Inc. and the owner of the Upper Deck Baseball Academy, and his wife, Theresa Dean.

Theresa, who is an avid runner, and Brad have attended the last three Harvest Festival & Tractor Shows, and the idea to hold a road race that would serve as a fundraiser came out of one of their recent visits to the farm.

The proceeds will not only go toward the preservation of the Historic Metcalf Franklin Farm, but also toward the Upper Deck AAU Stone Crabs baseball team’s trip to Ireland next summer, where it will take the field for a series of international games.

“I think if this (race) does well, we’d like to do this again next year and also make it a fundraiser for Cumberland youth sports,” said Brad. “Half of the proceeds will again go to the farm, and the other half will go to a local town team or organization.”

Road races and fall harvest festivals have gone hand-in-hand over the years in some towns in Connecticut, such as Brooklyn, Haddam, and Lisbon, and Theresa thinks that this festival race could make a splash in northern Rhode Island as well.

“Franklin Farm does a really great harvest festival,” she said. “They have it set up so it’s like an old-school festival. They have fun kids’ games, tractor rides, and local vendors, and tying it in with a road race is great. It’s a run or a walk that all families can participate in, and they can go right to the festival afterward.”

The course, which offers some slightly rolling hills, will start and end near the farm on Barn Drive. Participants will run down that road, take a left onto Lonesome Pine Road, cross Abbott Run Valley Road, and continue onto Rawson Road.

The course actually crosses into Massachusetts and North Attleboro for a third of a mile, and that’s when participants will take a left onto Paine Road and head back into Cumberland.

Participants will then zip through some of the neighborhoods next to Rawson Pond before taking a right onto Woodcrest Drive and another right back onto Rawson Road, where they will trek back to the farm for the finish.

“There’s just so much to (the farm),” Theresa said. “It used to be the oldest working dairy farm in Cumberland. They donate a lot of their vegetables to the Rhode Island Food Bank, which is great, and they attract a lot of people to their farm. In a day and age with everything so developed, it’s nice to have a treasure like that in Cumberland and people don’t even realize that.”

While the Deans stressed the history and the significance of the farm in the community, they also reiterated that this was a fun, family event for people of all ages and abilities.

“We just want to get people out and active,” Theresa remarked. “This is for everybody, runners and walkers. I think sometimes people are intimidated by road races because they see all these fast runners, and they shouldn’t be. We really want to make this a community event for everybody and build it so maybe this could become an annual event, like the (Arnold Mills) Fourth of July race.”

The fee to sign up is $32.50, and participants who register before Sunday will receive a free race T-shirt. Participants can also sign up on the day of the race, beginning at 7:30 a.m.

Cash prizes will also be awarded to the top male and female finishers, the top middle school and high school finishers will receive gift cards, and age group awards will be presented.

And, of course, participants will be treated to the festival, which will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and feature tractors, hayrides, barn tours, pony rides, food, music, and activities for children.

Visit www.franklinfarmri5k.com to sign up or for more information, and email Theresa at theresa.may.dean@gmail.com if you would like to volunteer for the race or need additional information.