Amid disagreement, Southwick Days comes to an end

Southwick Days
The Rotary Club has decided to not sponsor Southwick Days this year. (WNG File Photo)

SOUTHWICK, Mass. (The Westfield News) – On May 25, the Southwick Rotary Club announced that they would no longer sponsor Southwick Days. The club took a vote in May and it was overwhelmingly in favor of not sponsoring it, as only two members present at the meeting voted to continue sponsorship.

Southwick Days had been a four-day event in late July that featured the full gamut of Americana with a carnival atmosphere including rides, food, fireworks, the fireman’s parade, and more.

In the Rotary Club announcement, Club President Rick Anderson explained the club’s choice.

“Rotary made a decision to cancel the event after receiving word that the vendor supplying the midway, games, and rides was not going to attend the event. Efforts to find a replacement for the company proved unsuccessful. After a thorough and careful review of the financial aspects of the event, the club met and determined that without a midway and rides, the Club could not reasonably expect the attendance necessary to support the work and organization needed for a successful event.

Commerford, the ride vendor out of Goshen, Conn. who decided not to participate this year, didn’t have a written contract with the Rotary Club, therefore, they were able to end their involvement. Commerford had been the ride vendor for Southwick Days since the community event was created over three years ago.

Some Rotary Club members felt that the loss of the ride vendor would be too catastrophic for Southwick Days to function. The thought of possibly losing families attending the event because of the departure of the rides, was a concern for one member.

“I don’t know if we could sustain it,” said Rotary Club member Ellen Miles.

However, there were two Rotary Club members who voted to keep Southwick Days, and one of those individuals was Joe Deedy, owner of Moolicious Ice Cream and Select Board Vice-Chairman.

“It’s just disappointing,” said Deedy. “It’s (Southwick Days) definitely on vacation this year.”

Anderson then discussed the second reason in the press release why the Rotary Club wasn’t sponsoring Southwick Days this year.

“Secondly, the $10,000 fireworks display is too much for a club of this size to financially support and it could also create a situation where the club ends up with a net loss on the Southwick Days event.”

Deedy believed that the fireworks issue was the only reason.

“The vendor wasn’t the reason this went away,” said Deedy. “Some rotary club members really felt they shouldn’t be paying for fireworks, they felt the town should come up with the money.”

Deedy feels that Southwick Days could have been kept alive despite the issues.

“They just chose not to do it,” said Deedy. “The funding is in place.”

Along with fellow Rotary Club member Bob Fox, Deedy helped fundraise Southwick Days from the ground up when it first began a few years ago.

Fox pointed out that Southwick Days may not be permanently dormant.

“This may not be the end of it,” said Fox.

In the process of forming a non-profit organization, Deedy said the hope is to have the non-profit bring back Southwick Days in the near future, but certainly not this summer.

The Rotary Club press release also added that the organization will continue to host events such as the steak roast, fishing derby, tag sale, and more.

In order to find out more information about Rotary Club activities, visit the club’s website.

Southwick Day’s annual firefighter celebration