There was dancing in the streets on Saturday evening, as hundreds of residents came out for the Marion Town Party. Great weather, fantastic food, and lots of music and activities kept people busy as they socialized, danced, and ate their way through the afternoon and evening. The day ended with a fantastic bonfire held on the town field behind the Town House.
“This is a town tradition to get people together and have a good time,” Chairman Steve Gonsalves said. The event was sponsored by the Marion Firefighters Association, the Marion Police Brotherhood, and the Benjamin D. Cushing Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2425. According to Gonsalves, the annual party started back in the 1880s and was known as “Marigold Days,” and continued on and off over the years.
“Joe Zora used to run this event and he was the town’s ultimate public servant. When he could no longer put in the manpower, he asked me if I’d take it on and continue the tradition and I said I would,” Gonsalves explained. Gonsalves and his committee started meeting in April to plan the day. Town Party Committee members include Terry Santos, Flo Byron, Chris Berg, Michelle Bissonette and Donna Hemphill. Co-Chairmen for the event were Scott Shippee and Jody Dickerson.
A 65-foot-long bubble bounce obstacle course was set up in Bicentennial Park and children jumped, tumbled and giggled their way through it. A rock climbing wall stood in the middle of Spring Street, with older children doing their best to reach the top. A DJ played music while people danced. A smaller bounce house was available for younger children. An antique fire truck offered rides around the block. Tom Shire was on hand with his cotton candy machine offering children a big, pink bubble of candy.
Hamburgers, Italian sausage, scallops, hot dogs, chicken fingers, fish & chips, clam cakes and fish tacos were on the menu. Ice cream was free for everyone.
“A lot of this food was donated to us. Our goal is to keep it affordable for families,” Gonsalves said. All of the children’s activities were free.
Local resident Patrick Washburn designed and ordered Boston Strong shirts, which he sold during the party. All proceeds were sent to the One Boston fund, which supports victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.
One of the highlights of the evening was the bonfire, which was spectacular. Partygoers stood almost in silence as the mountain of wood pallets burned to ashes.
“It’s a great summer day for a party,” Gonsalves concluded.
By Joan Hartnett-Barry
Photos By Joan Hartnett-Barry & Felix Perez