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Civic Days Kicking Off Start of Fitchburg Summer

July 3, 2018 GMT

FITCHBURG -- Civics Days is back, so it goes without saying that summer is officially underway.

The series of events kicks off with the annual Block Party from 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday with a full lineup of food, music and activities for children.

“You’re bringing in so many people who have the opportunity to see downtown Fitchburg,” said Chair of the Civics Days Committee A.J. Tourigny.

The event will block off Main Street from Prichard Street to Mechanic Street, he said. This year, the planning committee spearheaded by Tourigny and Ray and Diane Burnette has musical acts playing on four different stages.

D.J. Kinney will play on the stage outside Espresso Pizza, he said, and Dance2Swing will spin the oldies. Country and bluegrass group Boothill Express starts a 5 p.m. show on the main stage will play country, then salsa band Son Boricua plays.

“They always get the crowd moving,” he said.

Groove Authority will close the show on the main stage playing “a little bit of everything,” from today’s hits to Motown classics, said Tourigny.

Amanda Cote and Melissa Gates will play with Soul Patrol at the gazebo on the Upper Common, he said.

After a successful inaugural run last year, Aldrich Auto Body & Repair has donated another vehicle for “whack-a-car,” where visitors are invited to grab a bat and swing away.

An “aerial silk” artist will perform airborne acrobatics, and “Kilted Colin” will tell jokes atop a unicycle and bagpipe, said Tourigny. A stilt walker will amble Main Street, and a fire-eater will stage a red-hot show at 8:45 p.m..

The annual Ray C. Classic Car Show, so-named for the Fitchburg radio show host Raymond Chalifoux, begins at 5 p.m. in front of the Post Office.

A whopping 30 food trucks representing international cuisines are scheduled to come, hailing from places like Amherst, New Hampshire, Worcester, and of course, Fitchburg, said Tourigny.

“We get all our local trucks,” he said. “So people better come hungry.”

The Block Party will attract thousands of people to the heart of the city, said Tourigny, adding that event’s “elite sponsor” this year chose to remain anonymous.

The annual fireworks show begins at 10 p.m., and Tourigny said this year’s display, sponsored by the Fitchburg Redevelopment Authority is longer than ever.

“Anywhere in the city, they’ll be able to see them,” he said.


The annual 4th of July Parade from Summer Street to City Hall begins Wednesday at 10 a.m.

More than 50 groups signed up to march in the parade that was sponsored by Fitchburg State University, according to Tourigny.

Joe Firmani is the parade’s grand marshal, he said. Firmani led the charge to bring “The Wall that Heals,” a traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, to Crocker Field.

The “Wall that Heals” will arrive in Fitchburg on July 11, where it will remain through July 15.

Zip trip

Boston 25 comes to Fitchburg Friday to film its 15th season of Zip Trips at Hollis Hills Farm.

Among those news anchors will interview between 6 and 10 a.m. are Mayor Stephen DiNatale and Firmani, who Tourigny said is being honored as the channel’s “hometown hero.”

Tourigny said residents should visit Hollis Hills to show their Fitchburg pride.

Amazing Duck Race

The 11th Annual Amazing Duck Race begins Sunday, but not before a visit from Wally the Green Monster.

Wally meet fans at Riverfront Park from 5 to p.m. Then, a massive fleet of rubber ducks will sail down the Nashua River from 6 to 7 p.m.

Organizers will randomly select a number before the race. If the number on the bottom of the duck that crosses the finish line first matches the randomly selected number, the duck’s lucky owner will win $5,000. First place in the duck race is $1,000.