Steve Gonsalves can hardly contain himself. As an organizer of the Marion Town Party and one of Marion’s leading public servants, Gonsalves is brimming with enthusiasm during a conversation about the 2013 edition of the event, taking place on Saturday, August 24, from 4:00 to 10:00 pm on Spring Street in front of the Town House.
“It’s so great to have all of these organizations involved in an event that is solely about the community,” he said. “This is for the townspeople. That’s why we keep the food so inexpensive, for instance, as excellent as it is. We want you to be able to take your family and actually be able to afford it.”
The Marion Town Party – which has existed in one form or another since the late 1800s – is sponsored by the Marion Recreation Department, the Marion Firefighters Association, and the Marion Police Brotherhood, supported by the help of several local businesses. The event was formerly handled by the VFW, who stay involved by running the bar (which will offer beer, wine and soda).
The menu will include burgers, hot dogs, sausage, seafood and more. Gonsalves said that organizers invite bakers to bring as many goods as they’d like for a table devoted to pastry, cakes, pies, cookies and breads.
The Marion Town Party is the place to be for chowhounds, and also for children, who can look forward to such features as a climbing rock wall, a dunk tank, and a bubble bounce obstacle course so large, said Gonsalves, that organizers “are still looking for a place to put it on Saturday.”
The festivities will also include a 50-50 raffle, an auction, a plant table for fall gardeners, a DJ with “dancing in the streets,” and a bonfire behind the Town House.
“People really enjoyed that last year,” Gonsalves said, “so we’re happy to bring it back.”
When asked what the Marion Town Party means to him and his fellow residents, Gonsalves didn’t hesitate.
“It’s about tradition,” he said. “I promised Joe Zora, Sr., who was a such a dedicated public servant for such a long time, that I would help carry on the event, and it has been an honor to live up to that.”
By Shawn Badgley