Gilly’Gilly’s House Plans 1st Annual Summerfests House Plans 1st Annual Summerfest
James Arsenault with Barbara Gillmeister. Arsenault, of James Breakfast and More, is organizing the restaurant tastings at Summerfest.
By Grace Allen
On Sunday, August 21, Gilly’s House will host the first annual Summerfest, a family-friendly, alcohol-free fundraiser from noon to 6 p.m. at the American Legion field, 592 South Street in Wrentham. All are welcome.
The event will feature live music, food, restaurant tastings, soft drinks, kids’ activities, special guest appearances, and more. Everything is included in the $50 ticket price, and children accompanied by an adult are free.
“It’s a fundraiser, but what we’re really excited about is that it’s a family-friendly, community event for everyone,” said Barbara Gillmeister, who founded Gilly’s House along with her husband, David. The sober home, a non-profit facility, offers a comprehensive life-skills transitional program for young men who have successfully completed a residential treatment program.
Proceeds from the day will benefit the home’s capital fund—the house needs new windows, and boiler upgrades--as well as its scholarship program.
One of the highlights of Summerfest will be food tastings from area restaurants. At press time, participating restaurants included James’ Breakfast and More, The Gavel Public House, Nicky’s Family Dining, Café Assisi, Commonwealth BBQ, Parker’s Pub, The Red Rooster Bar and Grill, Eagle Brook Saloon, Novatos Bar & Grill, Mackie’s Family Restaurant and Oven Essence Bakery.
James Arsenault, owner of James’ Breakfast and More, recruited the restaurants for Summerfest, noting that he’s a “townie” and knows most of the owners by name. Giving back is important to him, he said.
“Call it karma if you want, but I like to treat others the way I want to be treated,” he explained, when asked why he was taking on such a big volunteer task. “After many years of abuse in the restaurant business, and struggling with alcohol myself in the past, it just seemed right. And if it helps me, it must be huge for Gilly’s.”
There will be over thirty raffle baskets and several silent auctions to bid on, including a tour of the State House by Massachusetts state Rep. Jeff Roy, D-Franklin; a weekend in Martha’s Vineyard, complete with hotel, ferry tickets, and restaurant gift cards; and a flight on a 4-seater, high-performance Mooney aircraft. The single-engine plane, nicknamed “Lucy,” will be piloted by retired Air Force pilot Peter Hoffman, who has flown jets for over 40 years. The winner can pick the (local) area to fly over.
Comedian Michael Petit will serve as Summerfest emcee, and Wrentham Selectman Joe Botaish will act as DJ.
Students from King Philip High School’s community service group, KP Cares, will organize and run children’s activities throughout the day, including arts and crafts and face painting.
The Norfolk Lions will serve hamburgers, hotdogs, chips, popcorn, cotton candy, and snow cones.
Entertainment scheduled throughout the day includes a petting zoo from 2 to 4 p.m., magic shows at 1, 2:30, and 4 p.m., and a drumming circle at 12:15, 1:30, and 3:15 p.m. There will be caricature drawings, a clown/juggler, photos with Spiderman and Wonder Woman, a bubble machine, and a bouncy house.
There will be a Wrentham Fire Department truck for a “Touch-a-Truck” experience for kids.
Pat the Patriot will make an appearance from 1 to 3 p.m., while Keith Birchall, aka the Silver Bullet, is scheduled from 3 to 5 p.m. for photos with the Superbowl rings.
Attendees can peruse healthy living resource tables, and the SAFE Coalition’s “Hidden in Plain Sight” display will also be on site. Contact Maureen Cappuccino at [email protected] if your organization would like a free resource table at the event.
Summerfest will be held rain or shine, and multiple tents will be set up throughout the field. Organizers suggest attendees bring chairs and blankets to sit on while enjoying the music and food. Bathroom facilities will be available.
Tickets for Summerfest can be purchased at any time and will also be available at the VFW the day of the event, but organizers urge attendees to purchase tickets ahead of time for food planning purposes. Tickets can be purchased at https://gillyshouse.com/gillys-summerfest-2022, or by scanning the QR code on posted flyers with a smartphone. Tickets are tax deductible.
Raffle tickets for the baskets can be purchased ahead of time on the website, or in person at Summerfest. You do not need to attend the event to purchase raffle tickets, nor be present to win. Winning tickets will be drawn at 5 p.m. on the day of the event.
Sponsorships ranging from $250 to $2500 are available. Visit the Gilly’s House website for more information or contact Barbara Gillmeister at [email protected] with any questions.