WESTPORT — Jim Potter knows that a little financial help can go a long way when you're a college student facing tuition, room and board costs, books to buy and other fees. 

He remembers getting a helping hand in the form of a Westport Fair scholarship recipient.

That led him and his wife, Jen, to organize a race to help raise money for the scholarship fund and ultimately, help more students like Jim.

That's how the Westport Fair 5K and Kid’s Fun Run came to be. The third annual installment took place on Sunday, starting and ending at the Westport fair grounds on Pine Hill Road. 

“We wanted to do something more for the scholarship fund,” said Jim Potter, co-director of the race with Jen. 

Jim, a Westport High School graduate received a scholarship toward Construction Management at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston.

“Any type of scholarship helps,” he said. 

Last year, three additional $500 scholarships were awarded to students due to the race. Any local student going to college is eligible to apply for a scholarship.

“We’re just hoping that that continues to grow,” Jen said.

Jen wore a gray race shirt made by a first grade student that had a red tractor on it with a stick figure inside.

A contest was held among Westport and Dartmouth students to design race t-shirts for the 5K and Kid’s Fun Run. Entries from all schools are to be put on display throughout the 62nd annual Westport Fair which starts Wednesday and lasts through Sunday.

Jen said Westport elementary students and the entire Dartmouth school district participated in the contest. Top three t-shirt design winners and three honorable mentions were announced for each race.

“These kids worked really hard on these shirts...I think they came out great this year,” Jim said through a microphone to those at the event.

Jim noted one of his favorite parts of the race is the kid’s run. His son Logan, 2, and his daughter Grace, 4, both participated. Grace took first place in her age group.

Just under 100 people were registered and a few thousand dollars were expected to be raised, according to Jen.

“He was pretty much born into the fair,” Jen said about her husband. Jim noted his family is “heavily involved” and the work is all volunteer. With the scholarships, he said he liked the idea of being able to give back to some of the professions that Westport was “born and raised on” like agriculture.

Mary Cass, 55, of Westport placed first in the 5K road race. She noted she’s the new Cross Country coach at Bristol Community College and is looking for runners.

“Hopefully, they can learn with my experience,” of dealing with the heat and getting in the zone while racing, she said.

“This was my type of course,” she said, adding that there was a hill upon entering the course, but it was mostly flat.

Soon after she passed the finish line, she circled back to support her 13-year-old daughter Naomi.


Westport Fair race winners

Kid’s Fun Run

Ages two to four

Grace Potter, 4, of Dartmouth

Lucas Pavao, 4, of Fall River

Mason Chace, 4, of Dartmouth

Ages five to seven

Ethan Perry, 5, of Mattapoisett

Mackenzie Casavant, 6, of West Greenwich, Rhode Island

Collin Nashold, 5, of Westport

Age eight plus

Noah Rodrigues, 9, Westport

Shea Fuertes, 8, of Westport

Paul Tavares, 10, of Fairhaven



Top three women

Mary Cass, 55, of Westport 20:25.3 

Jennifer Merlin, 28, of Hanson 23:02.1 

Jacqueline Casavant, 31, of West Greenwich, Rhode Island 23:32.6 

Top three men

Ethan Gifford, 35, of Westport 21:15.6

Sean Lafrance, 41, of Westport 21:29.7 

Jason Laviolette, 35 21:43.3 


Follow Aimee Chiavaroli on Twitter @AimeeC_SCT