By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
MARLBOROUGH – Many highlights of 2019’s inaugural Weed Street Block Party hosted by the Marlborough Police Department (MPD) are returning Saturday, Aug. 28, at 1 p.m.
This year’s proceeds will benefit Officer Catherine Digou, a 31-year MPD veteran who is currently battling cancer.
Organized by the Marlborough Police Patrol Officer Association, the event is once again chaired by Detective Pat Hogan.
When Hogan began planning this year’s event, Digou was diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma. She’s undergoing treatment for stage 4 cancer, Hogan noted.
“Cathy is typically the person who’s helping other people,” he shared. “That’s why everybody is stepping up now that it’s her turn to need help.”
Inaugural block party
The first block party benefitted MPD’s K-9 unit. Digou was among the fundraiser’s volunteers.
“Cathy was there, setting up tables and chairs all day,” Hogan relayed.
At that 2019 event, the MPD publicly introduced its then-newly acquired K-9, Meiko. Block party guests got the chance to meet Meiko and handler Sgt. Ken McKenzie.
MPD’s former K-9, Kaiser, was nearing retirement after serving for six years. Meiko was training at the Boston Police K-9 Academy toward graduating in December of 2019.
“At the time, the expenses doubled with two dogs,” Hogan explained. “The block party was successful enough that we didn’t need to fundraise last year. We were actually surprised by how many people showed up and how much money we raised.”
Event’s law enforcement links
This year’s block party will also feature a meet and greet with Meiko and McKenzie.
“Everybody loves police dogs,” Hogan noted. “The meet and greet is good community relations.”
In addition to overseeing activities as the event chair, Hogan will play rhythm guitar and sing with Angry Tony and the Homewreckers.
Another Homewreckers’ link to law enforcement is retired Lt. Col. Anthony Abdal-Khabir of the Massachusetts Environmental Police on harmonica. They’re joined by two musicians who are also well-known as bandmates of The Allens: lead guitarist and vocalist Billy Claire and drummer Mark “Skippy” Johnson.
More first responders will be represented in the band Larry Bee and the Buzz.
The Buzz’s lead singer is Larry Bastien, a retired chief dispatcher with the Marlborough police and fire departments. The band’s lead guitarist is Mickey Grasso, a retired EMT and firefighter with the Marlborough Fire Department. Other bandmates are drummer Tom Brodeur, keyboardist Paul Izzo and Commander Mike Ferro of the American Legion Post 132 on bass guitar.
The entertainment lineup will also feature the band Late Bus and Irish step dancers.
Eat, drink and play for a good cause
Food trucks from Kith and Kin, Fork‘N Delicious as well as Juniper Farms Ice Cream will be stationed onsite. Guests can quench their thirst at beer tents along with Margarita Man beverages. Planned activities include raffle tables, cornhole games and the Ultimate Mobile Gaming truck.
Hogan is looking forward to another successful MPD Weed Street Block Party.
“We’re hoping to raise enough money so that Cathy can stay home, get better and spend time with her family,” he said. “It’s going to be a great, fun day.”
Admission is $10 per person. Reserved table options are offered for $100, $125 and $150. Tickets are available online at Eventbrite at “MPD Weed Street Block Party Cathy Digou Fundraiser” or by emailing Hogan at [email protected].
Shawna Jean Larassa Memorial Ride to return to Marlborough Aug. 14 (communityadvocate.com)