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Help make the Caribbean Fest a success

By Natasha Clark

Assistant Managing Editor

EAST LONGMEADOW Chris Graziano is aiming to make the Annual Caribbean Festival better than the previous two, if that's possible.

The fests have raised over $40,000 and given it back to the East Longmeadow school district.

Graziano is putting a call out into the community for volunteers and business sponsors. The event already scheduled for Sept. 8 has slots still to be filled.

"We still need a lot of sponsors. I'm desperately seeking businesses that want to step up [with sponsorships] between $100 and 500," Graziano said.

He's already been booking talent and getting the fun stuff such as bounce houses and Ninetendo Wii set-ups in order.

Graziano even managed to score well-known reggae musicians, The Itals, who are based in Jamaica. He met band member Keith Porter a few years ago at a gig in Northampton and said he "lucked out" that the band was free this year to perform.

With all the costs that accumulate to organize the affair, Graziano said he could not put it on without the support of many local businesses including Taylor Rental, GMH Fencing and Fazio's Ristorante and Pizzeria.

The ticket price has been reset to $5 after rising to $10 last year.

"It's a fun family event that makes money for our own children. Any money you spend at this event is going right back to your own kids. It's really a win-win situation," Graziano added. "I call it kids making money for kids."

To volunteer or sponsor call Chris Graziano at 525-6137 or e-mail