SAUGUS — For Phil Rando and Glen Davis, the city’s Founder’s Day celebration on Saturday presented another opportunity to give back to the community they love.
“As much as it is a celebration it’s also a huge day for local programs to fundraise,” said Davis.
“It’s great,” added Rando. “To help them out and bring the community together is the biggest thing.”
And bring the community together Founder’s Day did, still going strong in its 37th year and attracting hundreds of people, some visiting the tents of more than 80 vendors, others enjoying and dance routines on the stage, and kids playing in the fun area’s inflatable attractions, face painting, and dunk tank.
The celebration, which shuts down Central Street for pedestrians, is coordinated, in part, with the Saugus Youth and Recreation Department, led by director Greg Nickolas, and program coordinator Crystal Cakounes.
“Crystal has taken Founder’s Day and brought it into the 21st century,” Nickolas said. “I’m grateful for all she has done.”
Cakounes, who has coordinated the event for several years now, described how the day started as a celebration of Saugus but also evolved into such an important day.
“This event started as a celebration of Saugus and now, along with that has become the biggest fundraiser for youth and sports,” she said. “It’s a great day to be a Saugonian.”
One of the several musical performances Saugonians were treated to was the Saugus High School Band, showcasing some of their tunes played at football games.
“It’s fun for us to be able to perform at such a great event like this,” said Band Director Justin Jones. He also said how great it is to get a little live practice before the football season gets going.
The band’s Saugus Band-it’s Jail fundraiser, run by parents and members of the band, featured some of the members Saugus’ Board of Selectmen being “arrested” and having to raise bail money from inside the makeshift jail that would be donated to the band.
One of the selectmen to finally get bailed out after encouraging passersby to give to the cause was Jeff Cicolini.
“It’s just a great cause,” he said. “Once I was asked to volunteer here I didn’t hesitate to join the inmates, it’s great fun.”
Debra Panetta, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen, said “Founder’s Day is a day of celebrating everything Saugus. It’s a great Saugus family tradition.”