WATERVILLE — The annual Festival at the Falls, which was in danger of not happening this year, now will be part of what is becoming an event-filled October weekend.

The festival, which showcases food, music, dancing and other activities from a variety of the city’s ethnic cultures and enables nonprofit organizations to raise funds, will be held Sunday, Oct. 4, at Head of Falls at the same time as the annual Harvest Fest.

It’s the same weekend that Waterville Creates! is hosting Maine Craft Weekend downtown, which is scheduled for Oct. 2, 3 and 4 in the city.

Harvest Fest, a one-day event that features food, pumpkin carving, music and other events, got its own boost two years ago when Colby College ended its fall music festival Hill ‘n the Ville and became part of the annual fall festival.

The joint celebration this year is good news for the Festival at the Falls, especially after the City Council voted against a $4,500 allocation in this year’s budget for the event.

Joseph’s Market owners Kevin and Diane Joseph pitched in $1,000 last month with the hope that others would follow suit.

Other city businesses and individuals have since donated another $1,000, said Karen Rancourt-Thomas, director of the Franco-American Heritage Society, which sponsors Festival at the Falls.

Rancourt-Thomas, who’s also the Ward 7 city councilor, said there was no way it could be held without the financial help.

“It’s nice to see the community say they want the festival here to stay,” she said. “Out of bad, good things come out of it. It’s going to work. It’s going to be great.”

Rancourt-Thomas said having the two festivals work together is a good fit.

“What I really like about it is that school will be in session and I’m trying to include Thomas and Colby colleges, along with the public schools,” she said.

Rancourt-Thomas got a call from Nate Rudy, executive director of Waterville Creates! who offered to help, and she met with not only Rudy, but also Jennifer Olsen, executive director of Waterville Main Street, which hosts the Harvest Fest.

Olsen said Tuesday that she and Rancourt-Thomas see the partnership as a great win.

“We are enhancing each other in the spirit of collaboration,” she said.

The Festival at the Falls had been held the first week in September, but it will be a month later now to coincide with Harvest Fest.

Festival at the Falls had been the Franco-American Family Festival, but two years ago organizers decided to turn it into a celebration of all the city’s ethnicities and cultures.

That same weekend, Waterville Creates! hosts Maine Craft Weekend downtown, which includes three days of craft demonstrations and other activities.

Friday night activities will include PechaKucha, a creative networking event, followed by a band performance at the Waterville Opera House. Saturday will feature artisans creating their works at Castonguay Square, where the Waterville Area Art Society has been invited to exhibit works. Sunday will include the festivals at Head of Falls.

Rancourt-Thomas said the entertainment has been lined up for the Festival at the Falls, and will include a performance from the Recycled Shakespeare Company as well as music from a variety of cultures.

St. Joseph Maronite Catholic Church will sell Lebanese food, a tourtiere pie contest will be held, and other activities are planned. A French Mass will take place at 4 p.m. Oct. 3 at Notre Dame Catholic Church on Silver Street, followed by a bean supper at the church.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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