By Laura Hayes, Senior Community Reporter
UPDATE: With inclement weather on the horizon, the festival has been postponed until Sept. 4 from 2-6 p.m. at SAC Park.
“We apologize for any inconvenience and we hope you can make it to our rescheduled date,” organizer Andrea Castinetti wrote on Facebook.
SHREWSBURY — A new summer festival featuring a DJ, a dunk tank and a raffle, among other attractions, is coming to Shrewsbury.
The Shrewsbury Summer Festival will take place on Sept. 4, from 2 to 6 p.m. in SAC Park at 438 Lake St.
“I really just feel like the community needed to be brought back together after being apart for so long,” organizer Andrea Castinetti said in a recent interview with the Community Advocate. “I think everyone was in that virtual world for so long that it felt like people were having a hard time reconnecting.”
Festival to feature numerous attractions
The festival is also a way for organizers and the community as a whole to show their appreciation for the healthcare workers and first responders who continue to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
There will be a number of kid’s activities. Organizers have also planned a raffle to take place alongside a DJ, food trucks, and booths set up by local businesses and vendors.
“Small businesses got hit so hard,” Castinetti said of the pandemic’s economic impacts. “We want to really show what the town has.”
A small business owner of the Castinetti Realty Group, Castinetti runs a nonprofit called the Kindness Coalition of Massachusetts.
“We just wanted something easy and fun.” Castinetti said. “[It’s] a good way to help local businesses because I’m a small business owner and bring people together outside of their computers.”
Festival continues organizers’ charity efforts
During the pandemic, Castinetti ran a Facebook group called “Coronavirus Quarantine — who needs assistance.”
The group raised funds to collect PPE and supplies for area groups, including hospitals, jails and the National Guard.
“I had like 2,000 people in that group, and we would feed all of the first responders, nurses and doctors as many nights as we could,” she said.
Castinetti estimated that the group raised about $80,000 in less than a month. As a result, her real estate brokerage became a hub even though it was shut down during the pandemic.
Every day, there would be packages being delivered, people stopping in to donate money or restaurants donating food.
Castinetti said she gets chills when she thinks about how the group stepped up and gave back during the pandemic.
“I’ve never seen anything like that,” she said.
Castinetti promised the group that she would throw a party once it was safe to do so.
The Shrewsbury Summer Festival is a way of her making good on that promise. Castinetti hopes it will become an annual festival.
Festival to gather school supplies, raise money
Castinetti is asking people to bring school supplies, which will be donated to Shrewsbury schools. Instead of vendor fees, she further asked businesses to donate supplies.
Castinetti is friends with teachers and has often heard about how they would have to purchase their own supplies to stock their classrooms.
“I was honestly kind of horrified about it,” Castinetti said.
In addition to the school donations, proceeds from the raffle will go toward Shrewsbury Youth and Family Services.