By GAIL LOWE
WAKEFIELD — This year’s Festival Italia, held Saturday, Aug. 23, brought in nearly $12,000, Event Planning Chairman Paul DiNocco has announced. The amount is about $3,000 more in than what was received in 2013.
DiNocco stressed that though the money is placed in the town’s General Accounts, this is just a formality. All money received from any of the town’s three events (Shamrock Festival, Festival Italia and the Holiday Stroll) goes toward the planning of the next event — in this case, the Holiday Stroll, set this year for Saturday, Dec. 6 from 3 to 7 p.m.
“It’s the community’s money,” he emphasized, adding that the Committee does try to make money during each event so members don’t have to say ‘no’ to any of the town’s participating merchants.
“Each event builds on itself, and all money earned from a previous event goes to the next one. You don’t always make money on an event — for example, the Holiday Stroll is not a moneymaker. The Committee only wants to sustain itself. I don’t want to say to merchants ‘we don’t have the money to do that,'” said the Event Planning Chairman.
“The goal of the Event Planning Committee is to bring something good to citizens,” he continued. “The first Festival Italia five years ago brought 2,500 people to our downtown. This year that figure jumped to 15,000 people.”
The Police Department did not receive one complaint during the entire event, which DiNocco said was “an amazing testament to itself.”
This Thursday, the Event Planning Committee will meet to discuss details of the upcoming Holiday Stroll, including a review of applications for merchants, entertainment and setting a budget.
DiNocco said he expects that the Stroll will lead off with a Hat Parade to continue with the tradition of past years.
He also hopes to bring song, dance and instrumentals to the Stroll in the same venues, such as banks and various stores along Main Street.
DiNocco said that the horse-drawn carriages at the Holiday Stroll proved to be so popular last year that this year a third carriage will be added.
“All members of the Event Planning Committee are volunteers and are not paid for their time and efforts,” said DiNocco. “They all do a great job and deserve recognition not only from me but the entire community.”