Rotary Club hosts first annual carnival

This year marked the first-ever carnival hosted by the Needham Rotary Club. Photo by Georgina Ruetenik

By Katrina Margolis
Hometown Weekly Reporter

The weekend of July 7, the Needham Rotary Club held its first-ever carnival at Needham High School. From 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. on Friday, noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday, rides and games galore were stationed in the upper parking lot.

Four years ago, Ted Shaughnessy, the Immediate Past President, passed the same exact fair in Canton, Massachusetts. While the fair wasn’t up and running at the time, he stopped to speak to them about how they could get it to Needham. After some permitting battles and a lot of hard work, the dream finally became a reality.

This year marked the first-ever carnival hosted by the Needham Rotary Club.  Photo by Georgina Ruetenik

This year marked the first-ever carnival hosted by the Needham Rotary Club. Photo by Georgina Ruetenik

At the time, Shaughnessy worked not only with Needham Rotary but also Gift of Life, a Rotary charity which helps raise money for open-heart surgery for children who have congenital heart failure. “At the time, I figured it would be a joint fundraiser for Gift of Life and Needham Rotary, and a great event for the town!” Shaughnessy exclaimed. “Look at the all the kids having fun! Everybody is thrilled!” His face lit up as he looked around the surrounding families holding cotton candy and teddy bears, and children sporting elaborate face paint.

Despite some less-than-perfect weather over the weekend, turn-out was spectacular. “Even last night in the rain, at 6:00 p.m., people still wanted to buy tickets. They were here,” Shaughnessy explained. “But we had to start shutting down because of the lightning. At 6:30 we had to call it because it would take us too long to get the rides up and running again. Ticket sales have been good throughout the whole weekend.” On Sunday, the fair held a special offer, selling wristbands for $25, allowing for unlimited ticketed rides until 5:00 p.m.

“We hope to do it every year,” Shaughnessy relayed.

The Rotary enriches the Needham community through many different events and offerings, such as bringing plotted plants to the area’s nursing homes every spring, offering a Thanksgiving dinner on the actual day of Thanksgiving for those who might be alone or are in need, as well as donating meals with the Needham High School Honor Society. Last year, they packaged 19,000 in two and a half hours.

Shaughnessy’s enthusiasm and excitement was shared not only by the Rotary Club, but by all of the young faces surrounding him. Families came out in droves to enjoy a splendid weekend in July, and to support the community that they live in. All of the profit that is made will go towards the Rotary Club’s efforts.

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