SHIRLEY -- Ron Marchetti and Kevin Johnston, representing the Shirley Charitable Foundation, presented plans for this year's summer concert series and the Avenue of Flags to selectmen Monday night and asked for their blessing. The board unanimously approved both projects.
The current venue for the concerts has "turned out great," Marchetti began, noting that when the SCF started hosting the concerts 10 years ago, they were held on the grassy common outside the municipal complex, which is an open space with no shade. Now, the concerts are held on the historic Common in the center, which is a quintessentially New England setting with plenty of shade trees.
He also noted other changes for the better since the launch, partnering with other local organizations such as the Cultural Council, the Center Town Hall and Meetinghouse Preservation Committees and food vendors to augment the event.
There are five concerts scheduled this year, the first on Friday, June 28. Concessions open at 6 p.m. and the music starts at 6:30 p.m. This year's entertainment lineup includes the Nashoba Valley Concert Band and other groups that have been "big hits" in the past.
Marchetti said the SCF plans to step up its publicity campaign this year to attract more people to the already popular Friday-night concerts. With the Center Town Hall and the Meeting House Committees on board, they can also get the word out about the farmers market, another seasonal special held on the common.
"We've been averaging 300," he said. "We've been considering robo-calls to remind people," and up that number.
Avenue of Flags
"We started this many years ago," Marchetti said of the Avenue of Flags, another successful SCF venture. "Residents can buy a flag in memory of loved ones."
A few years back, Ken Swain, Selectman David Swain's son, refurbished all the flags as an Eagle Scout project, Marchetti continued. At that point, it looked like several flags would have to be replaced due to weathering, but thanks to that project, only two had to be replaced, he said.
Now, with more flags to display, the SCF wants to expand the layout of the Avenue of Flags all the way out to the common this year, and to that end presented selectmen with a detailed diagram mapping proposed locations and describing the structural setup.
"We worked with the Historic District Commission," which approved the plan last month, Marchetti said, noting the continued cooperation and assistance they've received from the DPW, Fire Department and the Scouts. "We're looking for your approval," he said.
They got it. The tradition will continue with the board's full support, selectmen said.