By Vicki Bradley, Contributing Writer
Westborough – The Hastings Parents Group recently held its sixth annual Winter Festival to raise money for the Hastings Elementary School in Westborough. The school was packed as children and their families came out to show their support for the school. With offerings such as games, kids” activities, raffles, music, food and a magic show, there was something for everyone.
The festival is the school's largest fundraiser of the year, and requires six months or more to organize, according to the group.
“We have nine dedicated moms that planned and organized the event. However, through the evening there are probably close to 80-plus or more parents, teachers and high school students that volunteer,” Vanessa Aires, the event co-chair said. “We have some great parents in our school system. We are very lucky.”
“The volunteers and parents know how important it is for this event to be successful. We raise the most money from this event. Without this, some of the bigger programs that we support might not happen,” she added. “The event has become iconic at the school and is happily anticipated by students every year.”
An estimated 500 people visited the festival throughout the evening, which was open to families from Westborough and surrounding towns.
A big draw for the event was the magic show performed by professional magician Matias Letelier, of Somerville. The audience was delighted by Letelier's engaging personality and amazing magic.
“His tricks were great,” remarked Nicholas Dwyer, 10, of Northborough. “I wanted to come to see the magician. It was my favorite part of the festival.”
A highlight of Letelier's show for the kids and adults alike was watching him levitate an audience member off the floor.
“I had a great time performing for such a great audience,” Letelier commented after his show. “It was nice to see all those families getting together around a good cause to help support the community.”
The festival also offered a large selection of raffle and silent auction items. National vendors like Walt Disney World theme parks, as well as the New England Patriots, Worcester Sharks and the Westborough Swim and Tennis Club donated passes and souvenir packages, while generous local families donated items such as electronics, landscaping designs and even a Maine vacation.
The Hastings Parents Group raised over $13,000 from the event.
“All proceeds will go directly to enrichment programs for all grades, and supplementing the school budget to provide enhanced technology for educational use for Hastings,” Kim Keogh, president of the Hastings Parent Group, said. “High priority items at this time are smart board systems to be installed in every classroom K-3.”