By Michael Hanna, Contributing Writer
Southborough – ?Southborough residents and locals from surrounding towns gathered on the grounds of Margaret A. Neary Middle School for the 10th annual Summer Nights festival hosted by the Southborough Recreation Department Aug. 24.? Children enjoyed horse rides, moon bounces, face painting, a magician, pizza and snacks, a live band, and a captivating fireworks finale.? The event proved to be a major success once again amongst all its participants thanks to the efforts of the many volunteers who supported it, coupled with the hard work and dedication from Recreation Department staff members.
When asked about the most appealing part of the event, Southborough resident Katie Chapman said, “Everything is free for the kids to do, and I can walk here.”
There was surely enough to keep any wide-eyed child occupied, from a mobile video game station to a massive outdoor bubble bath.
Billerica resident Ann Fullerton has been traveling to Southborough to attend Summer Nights for the past four years and spoke highly of the occasion.
“All of the people being here and having the people come together as a community really appeals to me,” she said.
For the past 10 years, Summer Nights has been free for all participants and it is able to stay that way, organizers said, thanks to vendors and sponsors, such as Capitol Group Properties, Domino's Pizza, and Atlas PyroVision Productions, who organized the fireworks display.
Commenting on what it takes to host an event like Summer Nights, Southborough Recreation Director Doreen Ferguson spoke highly of her staff members and volunteers.
“We start our planning in April by sending out press releases.? A lot of hours are spent on the little details.? Tonight took 8 hours to set up, and I couldn's have done it without our volunteers.? Melissa Shields, our event coordinator, hit it out of the park for us this year,” she noted.
Shields, the community event coordinator for the Southborough Recreation Department in turn praised Robin Martin, one of the originators of the event who has worked on it for 10 years.
“It was really about bringing the community together for a special moment with friends” said Martin.? “And, it's still free.? People don's have to spend a dollar if they don's want to.? It's like a free picnic for you and your family.”
Shields said that having a new live band, “Better Her Than Me” and reducing the wait time for all event attractions were important in making this year's Summer Nights event so significant.
“This year was the 10th annual Summer Nights and that is really special for us and a huge milestone,” she said.? “We wanted to cut down on the lines and make it a larger celebration.? We got two moon bounces, two face painters, and the new band has been amazing.? All of this is all possible because of Robin and her support team.”
Here are some pictures from the event: