FAIRFIELD— Good Will-Hinckley hosted its annual Fall Festival, a school tradition, on Saturday morning.

The fall weather paired perfectly as hundreds gathered to celebrate the festival, including some who were reconnecting with their alma mater.

“This year’s festival is much bigger than the festival we had last year,” Gary Dugal, president and executive director of Good Will-Hinckley, said Saturday. “To gaze across campus and see families having fun, the energy they bring, that’s my favorite part about the festival.”

Dugal first worked at Good Will-Hinckley as a teacher in 1993 and later worked in the Independent Living Program. He has held multiple roles in the organization’s administration. The transition through the fall festival, he said, has been remarkable. The festival was put on a pause in 2009, as the school suspended all its programs in an attempt to weather recession.

Now, the school is pushing forward to return to normalcy and keep up its fall tradition, Dugal said.

For alumnus Ryan Moody, the festival is beyond a tradition. “Coming back to campus means everything to me,” he said. Moody, a member of the school’s board of directors, never fails to visit the fall festival.


“Seeing all the people, very curious at this place, and being able to tell them what this place meant to me and hopefully what it can do for future kids,” Moody said Saturday as he reminisced about his time at the campus.

The festival hosted 15 vendors, and featured an obstacle course, a photo booth and a rock climbing wall. The petting zoo and the reptile tent attracted the most attention among children and adults alike. The free-admission event gathered hundreds of people to attend the festival and enjoy the activities.

Children also took advantage of the pumpkin- and face-painting stalls hosted under the tent area. The primary sponsors included Sappi, Golden Pond Wealth Management and Skowhegan Savings Bank.

For first-time vendor Ford Nelson, hosting his maple syrup and honey business at the festival seemed like the right thing to do. “It’s nice to come out here because you meet some really nice people,” said Nelson, who also sets up his honey and maple shop at weekend farmers markets.

Many festival goers considered the fall festival to be the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon. “We had to come here and enjoy some family time while our kids stayed occupied,” said Michael Smith, who drove from Waterville to attend the festival.

Good Will-Hinckley was founded in 1889 by George Walter Hinckley, with the intention of providing residential living and educational opportunities for youth and families. The organization’s purpose is to be the “helping hand” every child needs, according to the school’s website.

“This place has changed my life and has changed the life of many,” Moody said.  “I’m just one voice among that massive chorus of kids who have been helped by this place.”

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.