Three local restaurants have joined the cause as the Gaspee Days Committee races to raise the funds needed to repaint the road strip on the Gaspee Days Parade route.
L’attitude, O’Rourke’s Bar and Grill and Basta, all in Pawtuxet Village, have provided the committee with a number of gift certificates to be raffled off to donors who contribute to the campaign. Each gift certificate is valued at $25 and two are given out each week. Winners are selected that at week’s donations.
Carol Deming, president of the Gaspee Days Committee, was incredibly thankful for the restaurants’ generosity in providing the prizes. In a phone interview yesterday, Deming said the committee has enough gift certificates to keep the campaign up and running for another four weeks, until Memorial Day.
The campaign kicked off with a “duel” between Mayor Allan Fung and Mayor Scott Avedisian on March 21; the two raced to paint a portion of the road stripe in front of O’Rourke’s to show their support of the fundraiser.
Following the duel, donations to the campaign could be made in the name of either Cranston or Warwick. Whichever city had donations totaling $2,500 (their half of the $5,000 needed to paint the stripe) first would win bragging rights for this year’s celebration.
While Fung may have won the actual painting duel, Avedisian proved his theory from the duel that “slow and steady wins the race.” As of April 20, Warwick had a total of $2,740 to Cranston’s 2,164.
In total, the Gaspee Days Committee has raised $4,904 through the campaign, $96 shy from their goal, but Deming explained that collections would not stop just because the total reaches $5,000.
“We are continuing to get a great response,” said Deming. “I have more checks in my hand right now.”
While Deming is confident that the committee has the necessary $5,000 to paint the road stripe this year, she said the collection would continue through Memorial Day as planned and any additional funds will be saved to repaint the stripe in the future.
“I am very happy that Warwick exceeded our goal of raising half of the money for the Gaspee road stripe,” said Avedisian in an email to the Beacon. “I hope people will continue to donate and help Mayor Fung and the City of Cranston meet their goal as well.”
Deming said the $5,000 would cover everything needed to paint the stripe on the Narragansett Parkway/Broad Street parade route, as well as the police detail needed while the road is painted. She said the painting would occur on a Sunday night prior to the start of the Gaspee Days Arts and Crafts Festival on May 25. No specific date is scheduled, but it will be early enough to allow for a potential rain date as well.
“This is a big symbol of our event and people get very excited when they see that stripe [repainted],” said Deming. “It is a symbol of pride in this community.”
Following the conclusion of the paint the stripe campaign, Deming said the Gaspee Days Committee has been planning a kick-off for fundraising efforts for the 50th anniversary of Gaspee Days, which will take place in two years. The kick-off would occur sometime during this year’s celebration.
“We always accept donations,” said Demings.
Avedisian expressed his hopes that citizens would donate more than just money to this popular event.
“More importantly, I hope people will look at joining the Gaspee Days Committee and supporting all of their activities. As a former president of the committee, I know that we are looking forward to celebrating our 50th anniversary in two years,” said the mayor.
Donations to the road stripe can be made on the Gaspee Days website or by check. Checks can be mailed to the committee at P.O. Box 1772, Pilgrim Station, Warwick, RI 02888-8883, or to the Warwick Beacon offices at 1944 Warwick Ave, Warwick, RI 02889.