You know autumn has arrived in Fairfield when signs for fall festivals pop up on lawns throughout your drive around town.
SeptemberFest at Our Lady of the Assumption Church on Stratfield Road (Route 59) will kick off on Friday. The three-day event has grown significantly over the past 10 years - from its smaller church-fair status to the parish's largest annual fundraiser. The fest features rides for children and adults, games and prizes, a huge white-elephant tag sale, 50/50 raffles, a grand prize parish raffle, bingo and plenty of yummy fair food.
Assumption Church's longtime pastor, Monsignor Blase Gintoli, said that the church plans to use this year's SeptemberFest profits for major repairs to the church tower - "a project of great proportion."
"These repairs include repointing sections of the tower and installing a new roof, as well as three sections of flat roofs around the church itself," he said. "However, our one big goal is to bring our parishioners together as a sign of a united parish family working toward a common goal and having fun as we achieve it."
SeptemberFest will be open rain or shine on Friday from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., Saturday from 1:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. and on Sunday after Mass from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Fairfield was once known as a conservative town with Republicans outnumbering Democrats 2-to-1. Times have sure changed. The largest portion of the town's voting population is held by unaffiliated voters, which has certainly altered campaign strategies for local and state candidates.
Campaign promises are made on both sides of the political aisle during election time – some of them are kept, while others are broken.
Take for example the reconstruction of Penfield Pavilion – a recreational facility at Penfield Beach that has been utilized by residents and non-residents, both young and old (and every age in between.) The current First Selectman Ken Flatto promised the majority of the planned renovations would be complete if he was re-elected back in 2007. Three years later, the final and largest phase of the rebuild is still pending approval from the Representative Town Meeting.
The $3.28 million in funding to complete the long-awaited rebuild of Penfield Pavilion will go for final approval to the town's legislative body on Sept. 27.
Parks and Recreation officials told the Board of Finance that the $3.28 million expenditure makes more long-term sense than spending about $1.2 million to simply make piecemeal renovations to the building. A rebuild could last more than 100 years, while renovations would likely last only 20 years, according to Public Works Director Richard White. By most accounts, the rebuild of Penfield Pavilion is fiscally sensible and most citizens in our town agree that this recreational gem is overdue for its promised reconstruction.
The rental fee for the pavilion is currently a nominal $500 and is utilized by schools, private parties and organizations for events throughout the year. Let's hope it remains an affordable space where as many residents and neighbors as possible can enjoy the facility and beach.
"Even in difficult times it is prudent to make capital investments to infrastructure," said finance board member Kevin Kiley. Republicans and Democrats so far seem to concur on this particular issue. Now, let's just remember to keep our promises.