MARLBOROUGH – “The Burrow,” like the magical dwelling in the Harry Potter saga, was the welcoming site of the Mayor’s Charity Benefit on May 13.
It was the fifth and final time for Marlborough Mayor Arthur Vigeant to raise funds for the Mayor’s Charitable Fund that is a significant source of revenue to help residents through emergencies and other unforeseen circumstances.
“People are calling all the time,” said Vigeant. “We just had a situation the other day when a woman called who was being evicted from her house. She had two little kids and just needed some help.”
The Mayor’s Charity Relief Fund was started in 1960 with the proceeds from then-Mayor Kuson J. Haddad’s first Inaugural Ball. The funds were expected to help out a little bit, but not be a long-term solution.
“This is a great night,” continued Vigeant. “The committee was looking for a different venue and they found one.”
The Burrow, on Green District Boulevard, was the perfect setting for the spring event and the warm temperatures allowed guests to enjoy the festivities inside the apartment complex as well as outside on the patio.
“Tonight is absolutely fabulous,” said Meredith Harris, who co-chaired the benefit with Bob Kays. “The weather really held out for us. It’s a beautiful space, a brand new space.”
As a highlight of the evening, it is traditional to announce the Humanitarian of the Year.
This year, Vigeant reached out to local longtime volunteer Ivette Mesmar, who was not only on the committee but as a member of the Lions Club helped serve food to the hungry guests.
“Ivette Mesmar, a resident of Marlborough,” said Vigeant, “has faithfully served her community over the past 20 years through her dependable and generous volunteer efforts.”
Mesmar has volunteered with the Evening of Giving, the Chamber of Commerce and much more.
Some 350 guests enjoyed not only the new venue but also catching up with friends as the Benefit was the breakout event following the pandemic.
The event featured a variety of food selections from local restaurants as well as a caricature artist, a wine tasting room and a silent auction.
Musicians from the Marlborough High School’s Jazz Ensemble kicked off the evening’s entertainment followed with music by the Frye Street Radio group.
The restaurants offering food included some of the finest and most popular eateries in the city.
They included the 110 Grill, Buffet Way, Chill Kitchen & Bar, Classic Pizza 1, Embassy Suites, Evviva Trattoria, Firefly’s, Lost Shoe Brewing & Roasting Co., Marlboro House of Pizza, Marlborough Country Club, Olive Garden, Vin Bin, Welly’s Restaurant and Zarape Restaurant.
Kennedy’s Pub & Market offered a tenderloin appetizer and Dairy Queen provided mini-sized versions of their Blizzard.
“Thank you very, very much for coming,” Vigeant told those on hand while personally thanking his wife Sue and his family as well as his staff and the Mayor’s Benefit committee.
Assisting Harris and Kays on the Benefit committee were Mesmar, Trish Bernard, Greg Mitrakas, Doug Rowe, Irene Stokes, Dave Walton, Donna Barberio, Dave Bouvier, Scott Duplisea, Susan Vigeant, Gail Walton, Kathy Mitrakas and Lindsey Jaworek.
In addition to Vigeant, city and state officials attending included state Rep. Danielle Gregoire, Marlborough City Councilors Michael Ossing, Mark Oram, John Irish, Don Landers, Kathleen “Katie” Robey, J. Christian Dumais, Teona Brown, Sean Navin and Samantha Perlman. School Committee members attending included Katherine Hennessy, Heidi Matthews, Michelle Bodin-Hettinger, Denise Ryan and Dan Caruso.
For decades, the Mayor’s Charity Fund has assisted local residents during times of need and the 2023 Charity Benefit has continued the tradition.