Athol-Orange Rotary Club’s Summerfest coming soon

  • The helicopter rides, a popular attraction at the Athol-Orange Rotary Club’s Summerfest last year, will be offered again at the Athol High School. File Photo

For the Recorder
Thursday, June 14, 2018


ATHOL — The Athol-Orange Rotary Club’s family friendly Summerfest is shaping up to be an entertaining four-day event.

“This is all about being a community event,” said Rotarian William Kessler. “We want everybody to enjoy it. It creates memories.”

Kessler said recently that there will be a carnival, live entertainment, food, a road race sponsored by the Athol Area YMCA, vendors and fireworks on Saturday, June 23, at 9:30 p.m. He said the carnival, first owned by Wilmingston resident Sam Cushing, who operated it at the Summerfest for the Athol Lions Club for many years, is “a reputable carnival. It’s clean, with courteous workers.” His son, Larry, has taken over the operation and Larry’s son, Peter, is involved as well.

The carnival opens Thursday, June 21, from 6 to 10 p.m. One-price wristbands for rides will be sold Thursday evening and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. On Thursday and Friday, tickets will be sold. A discount may be found for tickets on the Athol-Orange Rotary website.

Athol Police Chief and K9 Gronk will be on hand. Gronk stickers will be sold to help defray the cost of the dog.

There will be live music the first three nights:

Thursday, June 21, 7 to 9:30 p.m.

The Definite Maybes

The Definite Maybes fashion a dynamic blend of rock, blues and R&B originals and classic covers. Driven by the sweet, soulful voice of Melanie Mangum and spirited guitar of Charlie Mallet, the band’s new CD “Leaving The Station” showcases original songs that cross musical boundaries and styles. The band also features Connie Putnam on bass and Doug McLeod on drums, both journeymen musicians of New England. Opening the show will be “Vintage” a group of young musicians from Gardner.

Friday, June 22, 7 to 930 p,m.

Trailer Park

Trailer Park is a popular local soul band. Celebrating its 24th anniversary this year, Trailer Park has achieved a level of popularity and critical acclaim across the Northeast. Trailer Park is powered by James Robinson on guitar, Tom Mahnken on bass, Greg Lauzon and Rick Page on tenor saxophone and Joe Fitzpatrick on drums. All of the members sing. The music is a tribute to the horn-driven R&B bands of 1950s New Orleans, the catchy melodies of timeless pop and the you-better-shake-it vibe of Latin music. Members of the band say, “Trailer Park plays original, sax-soaked rock and roll. It’s often been called ‘Barbeque Music,’ though we couldn’t tell you exactly why.” Since 1994, Trailer Park has released half-dozen CDs and played more 1,000 shows throughout the Northeast.

Saturday, June 23, 5 to 7 p.m.

The Richard ChaseExperience

Richard Chase has earned the respect of audiences throughout the Northeast, and well beyond, with his superbly crafted songs and tasteful musicianship. A talented multi-instrumentalist, Chase has appeared on many stages from coast to coast in a variety of genres that include symphonic, orchestral, jazz, pop, original, rock, choral, contra, theatre and solo work. Karen Traub of the Wendell Full Moon Coffeehouse says, “Rich’s voice is like a favorite sweatshirt — smooth, pleasing and versatile. (He’s) obviously having fun, which adds to the enjoyment for everyone.”

Saturday, June 23 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

The Mighty King Snakes

The Mighty King Snakes play high energy rockin’ blues. The band was founded by the legendary iconic lead vocalist Charlie Scott and the incomparable “Irish Mike” Patterson on guitar and vocals. The group also often includes Stewart James on harp, “Dangerous Dan” Linsky on guitar, Bruce Stark on drums and Scotty Monette on bass.

The band has received extensive radio airplay and is one of the premier touring bands in the United States. Members of the band have shared stages with the likes of George Thorogood, James Montgomery, Duke Robillard, Professor Harp and countless other legends. The Mighty King Snakes will play until the fireworks blast off at 9:30 p.m.

There will be a 5K road race/walk sponsored by the Athol Area YMCA. Proceeds will benefit the “Partners With Youth” program, which supports children’s memberships and camperships to Camp Wiyaka and Camp Selah.

Food booths include the All American Caterers, which will be open Friday night and all day Saturday and Sunday, offering a chicken barbecue. The Athol Fire Department will serve sausage sandwiches. The North Quabbin Lodge of Masons will serve lemonade and will sell glo-sticks the night of the fireworks. Local churches will set up booths, including the Starrett Memorial United Methodist Church and Athol Congregational Church.

“We need more churches to participate,” said Kessler. “We also need more Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops to participate, women’s clubs, other groups. Anyone interested can contact any Rotary member or Deb Allain-Thomas.”

Kessler said the fireworks show was “impressive” last year. It was put on by Athol native Bob Mallette.

The organizers are seeking a sponsor for the dunk tank. He said he would “love to see the Boosters there. Maybe they could run a Las Vegas tent. It’s one thing we haven’t had.” He noted there is no entry fee for the fireworks. “We want everybody to enjoy it.” Commemorative buttons will be sold.

Helicopter rides will be offered by CR Helicopters of Nashua, N.H., and Sunday morning will open with a car show sponsored by the North Quabbin Cruisers at 9 a.m.

“They give an incredible (helicopter) ride,” said Kessler, “Ten minutes and you get to see the entire area. They treat us very well.”

The music is being sponsored by Kimball Cooke Insurance and MAPFRE Insurance.

“The community is always so generous,” said Kessler, who added the Athol-Royalston Regional School District is easy to work with to set up the event. “We are very careful with the fields.”

The Athol Fire Department is assisting with the lighting and electrical needs.

“We have good people working with us, and we try to make this as safe and fun as possible,” said Kessler.

The primary sponsor is Pete’s Tire Barns Inc. of Orange. Other sponsors include local banks — Athol Savings Bank, Athol Credit Union and bankHometown.

For information about the event, or about setting up as a vendor, call 978-249-2837 or 978-852-4709.