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Wollaston Beach gets a boost right before celebratory weekend

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  June 24, 2011 12:43 PM

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FWB Arts in The Park.JPG

A picture from last year's FWB Kids Fest event, which drew out thousands despite the fact that it was rained out and rescheduled twice. (photo courtesy of Jacquelyn Devin)

Friends of Wollaston Beach will celebrate more than just the start of summer, with the annual Kids Fest this Saturday.

The organization recently won one of 10 grants from the Save The Harbor/Save the Bay Foundation, receiving $2,500 to go towards beach events throughout the summer.

In four years of receiving the grant, FWB said it has received a total of $13,000 in grants to support beach activities, schedule entertainment for beach events, and promote environmental values.

“You have to apply for the grant on an annual basis, and provide detail on how you would use the funds as a non-profit,” said Neil McCole, president of FWB.

In the past, The Boston Foundation donated the money. This past year, however, the organization decided to seek donations from the grant participants themselves, hosting “splashes” at beaches from Lynn to Nantasket, where sponsored swimmers dove into the bay for a cause.

Out of the $25,000 raised, $2,500 will go back to Wollaston to help pay for entertainment during Saturday’s festival, for entertainment during Dancing in the Park on July 19, and to help support Reading in the Park in August.

“We also contribute some of our money from donations to fund our events [towards entertainment and prizes],” McCole said.

It’s all in an effort to bring more awareness to the great resource just outside people’s doors, McCole said.

“Part of our mission is to bring people to utilize the beach more frequently. Five years ago, after the beach project was completed, there wasn’t a lot of activity at the beach. The better beaches program is designed to bring people back to the bay,” McCole said. “Now that the harbor has been cleaned up. We try to balance events that are family friendly on the sand as well as family friendly across the park.”

Last year, over a thousand people showed up to participate in Kids Fest alone. McCole is hopeful that this summer’s programs will get off to the same great start.

“If it’s a nice, sunny day we expect a crowd,” he said. “But I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple thousand kids on the beach.”

This summer’s Kids Fest is especially important to the FWB family, as longtime supporter and Wollaston Beach friend, restaurant owner Jimmy McGettrick passed away last week.

Last year, after having been rained out twice, McGettrick donated the use of his restaurant , The Beachcomber, on Quincy Shore Drive to the event. Not only that, but he donated pizza for over a thousand people that showed up to partake in the moon bounces, clown show, and DJ.

“We wouldn’t have had the event if it wasn’t for Mr. McGettrick and his staff of people being so committed,” McCole said.

Kids Fest will take place on the beach at West Elm Avenue Pavilion on Saturday June 25, starting at noon. For more information, click here.

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