Community Spirit Shines Through
GTP Board Approves the 2014 Festival
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The community spirit that the Greenwich Town Party was meant to spark was in full force as a full crowd sang in the rain to James Taylor on Saturday May 25th. Throughout the day friends and families of the Greenwich community played together. In its’ third successful year, over 3,000 were in attendance at 2pm when the children's activities, community organization exhibit and the BBQ Grill-Off concluded and just over 4,500 people were in attendance by 8:30pm when James Taylor hit the stage to close the day’s festivities.
The event at the Roger Sherman Baldwin Park couldn’t have gone better under the circumstances according to the festival planners. Even when the large screens on the sides of the stage had to be lowered due to strong winds in the late afternoon, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue jumped over to the smaller Town Stage without hesitation. During the final hours of the night, attendees and performers alike even endured biting wind and horizontal rain showing their true dedication.
In addition to James Taylor and Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, headlining performers rocking the main stage were the Harlem Gospel Choir, Blues Traveler, Caroline Jones, and Michael Franti & Spearhead. All artists gave amazing performances—each with their own sound drawing the attendees to the foot of the stage to enjoy them. Michael Franti took his performance a step further getting up close and personal with the crowd inviting people on stage to help him perform and even jumping off stage to perform amongst the crowd. The town stage was also talent-filled with energized performances by local bands including Straight Face, Logan’s Run, Maeve, Cougar Magnet, Local Talent, and Billy & the Showmen.
The BBQ Grill-Off was an added popular highlight again at this year’s Greenwich Town Party. The 2013 People’s Choice 1st Place winner of both the Pulled Pork & BBQ Chicken categories was Bobby Q's Bodacious BBQ winning two $3,000 prizes. JC’s Wicked BBQ won 2nd Place for both the Pulled Pork & BBQ Chicken categories winning two $1,500 prizes. For 3rd Place, Handsome Devil won $500 in the BBQ Chicken category and Big Head Ed BBQ won $500 in the Pulled Pork category.
Guiding the events of the 2013 Greenwich Town Party were emcees including Jeff Weber (Business Talk Radio, WGCH), Bill Evans (Senior Meteorologist on WABC’s Eyewitness News), and Gary Dell’Abate (Producer/Howard Stern Show and Greenwich Parks and Recreation Board), Susie Costaregni (Greenwich Time/The Dish), and comedienne Jane Condon. First Selectman Peter Tesei also joined the festivities introducing the Town Stage band Local Talent and GTP Chair and lifelong Greenwich resident Mark Vallely addressed the attendees and presented the BBQ Grill Off People’s Choice awards.
The concept for the Greenwich Town Party started with the vision of Ray Dalio who was on hand to talk with the crowd before the closing performance. Dalio shared his vision of the event and expressed how he wanted to replicate the incredible community feel of an annual town party event in Spain that he and his wife experienced. The event was organized around the notion of “community spirit”, and “mutual generosity” with many residents and local businesses pitching in to bring the Greenwich Town Party to life. Sponsored by the Greenwich Town Party, Inc., a non-profit organization qualifying as a public charity under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, the event is a volunteer-supported community event.
The most unfortunate event of the day was the last minute cancelation of the Town Party’s Greenwich Avenue extension event, GTP Rocks the Avenue, due to predicted weather conditions as it would affect equipment and electricity feeds. This decision was made in the best interest of safety for bands, vendors, and attendees of this extension event, however the community can be assured that GTP Rocks the Avenue will return in 2014 with a solid inclement weather plan. The goal of the Greenwich Town Party planners is to extend the reach of the event each year. This year these efforts included a harbor-side broadcast and the all new WGCH 1490AM Radio’s live broadcast and partial simulcast which brought the Greenwich Town Party to thousands of listeners.
After three successful years of this unique community event, the Greenwich Town Party Board of Directors has given the green light to continue this annual event each year. The 2014 Greenwich Town Party will take place again next Memorial Day weekend and the people of the community are encouraged to sign up on the website for email updates, and to join the GTP online community via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Four Square, and Instagram.