By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Marlborough – Nearly 300 motorcyclists and passengers endured sudden downpours Aug. 6 as they started the seventh annual Shawna Jean Larassa (SJL) Memorial Motorcycle Ride. The 50-plus mile ride through 10 communities began and ended at the Marlborough Moose Family Center 1129. There, others joined them for a day of family fun with new attractions.
The fundraiser was once again organized by George Larassa of Marlborough in memory of his daughter, Shawna Jean. After completing her freshman year majoring in criminal justice at Johnson & Wales University, she died in a car accident at age 19 in 2009. The motorcycle ride has raised an average of $25,000 each of the past six years for the SJL Memorial Scholarship Fund.
Weather improved significantly following the ride when guests of all ages joined the bikers at the lodge for lunch catered by the Westender. Live musical entertainment was provided by AriBand and Terminal Velocity. Top raffle prizes included a 1988 Harley Sportster 200, a toolbox filled with adult beverages, and an airsoft rifle donated by New England AirGun in Hudson.
Funds were also raised with donations for live butterflies, an insect that Shawna Jean loved. Ten dozen butterflies were available and released.
New this year, the post-ride festivities featured a petting zoo with Animal Craze, and trucks offering video games and ice cream. Future fundraisers for the scholarship fund will likely attract an even broader age range.
Larassa announced that he’ll take a year hiatus to plan a larger fundraising event at a different venue. At this point, he said his considerations are a breakfast for seniors and a three-day carnival.
For information about the SJL Memorial Scholarship Fund and future fundraisers, visit shawnalarassa.com.
Photos/Ed Karvoski Jr.