|By Lori O'Brien|
CHICOPEE - "It's all about the good food, great entertainment and events."
That's how Bobby Liswell, chairman of this summer's Chicopee Fest of All, describes the three-day free event planned June 29-July 1 at Szot Park.
"We keep it simple," said Liswell during an interview with Reminder Publications. "Friday is our 'Community Day,' Saturday is our 'Family Day' with fireworks at night, and Sunday is our 'Seniors and Veterans Day.'"
Liswell said his all-volunteer committee hopes to surpass the 65,000 area residents who attended the first Fest of All last summer. Committee members include Stan Walczak, Gail Sherman, Edison Yee, Ron Eichstaedt and Paul Tanguay. In addition, Board of Director members include Jerry Darcy, Dave Averill, Andy Robb, Michelle Liswell and Mayor Michael D. Bissonnette.
Liswell noted that this event is important for the city since Chicopee was known for its summer events over the years.
"If you grew up in Chicopee there was always a summer activity," he said.
To ensure that the Chicopee Fest of All is a success, Liswell credits an army of volunteers who work tirelessly behind the scenes, including city department employees who help bring the event together.
"As chairman, I am expecting a good turnout for this second annual event and appreciate everyone on my committee including local officials who help made last year happen and will make this year a great success as well," he added. "These people are the ones who are donating their time, their contacts and efforts to pull this together. Without their volunteerism and resources, we would not be able to make this happen."
Liswell emphasized that a real community effort made "all the pieces fall into place in 2006."
"We received a lot of help from city departments," said Liswell, adding "with their experience, it helps us save a lot of money."
Sponsors are another integral (and necessary) part of the Fest of All, and sponsorships are still available.
"The sponsors make a huge impact with their donation and letters have gone out as it takes money to put on an event such as this one," he added. "Without sponsors, an event like this does not happen."
Liswell is known for thanking everyone who lends a helping hand and he particularly singled out Adam Pichirilo, last year's hometown hero, for his volunteerism and help on the design of the Chicopee Fest of All logo.
For businesses and individuals interested in being a part of Chicopee Fest of All, visit www.festofall.com. As the event nears, a schedule of events will also be posted. Individuals interested in sponsorship information can visit the website or call (413) 478-6867.
"We also started a Friends of the Festival sponsorship where individuals can donate and their sign will be hung under the main tent for the three days," said Liswell.
Area restaurants and food vendors are also welcome to participate in the festival and must submit an application for participation. Applications are also available at the website.