As Southwick Rotary Club fundraising chairman Robert Fox knows all-too-well, it isn’t summer in Southwick without a community-wide celebration.
That’s why, when the future of the longtime event – first known as the Fireman’s Carnival and, in recent years Southwick Days – was put in jeopardy, town residents worked overtime to keep the yearly tradition alive.
This year’s festival will take place between Thursday and Sunday, featuring many midsummer traditions that community members may be familiar with, from fireworks and the Fireman’s Parade to a car show and “Grill’n Daze” outdoor barbecue.
Fireworks are planned for Saturday night at American Legion Post 338. The fund begins at 6 p.m. and continues until 11 p.m.
According to Fox, the creation of this year’s incarnation proved to be a labor of love.
“This year it’s a little different. What happened was, we started it calling Southwick Days and tried taking over where the Fireman’s Carnival left off. They decided they were going to dispense with the carnival due to their golf tournament,” said Fox. “The Southwick Rotary Club has held onto this for two years. We’re small, and to make a long story short, there was some controversy about whether we would be able to pay for fireworks and the ride company, too.”
Then, a number of community organizations began to pitch in.
“Our club, this year, decided they weren’t going to do it. But then, (Southwick-based non-profit) One Call Away group volunteered to combine with us for one day. They’re going to do something with us at Whaley Park – a motorcycle ride, barbecue, kids events – a very similar thing to what we were doing,” said Fox.
In addition, Fox said that other local businesses and community organizations – namely Moo-Licious Ice Cream and Southwick Police Lieutenant Kevin Bishop’s Team Justice Racing – stepped in to help, too.
A group of us are raising money for the fireworks. Moo-Licious Ice Cream and Kevin Bishop from the Police Department’s Team Justice, and other individuals from the community, are raising money for fireworks on Saturday,” said Fox. “And David Sutton, of One Call Away, is also asking for any help to get the parade going, separate from the money they raise to help veterans and first responders.”
Fox said that ultimately, as a result, the show will go on this year – but any help is appreciated.
“The businesses and public are coming through, but we have to make sure we’re covered completely. You have to keep it going strong. We haven’t got all the money yet, but we’re chasing it. By time you pay for insurance, police protection and fireworks, it’s expensive,” said Fox.