Party hits the right notes… But is a third planned?

p1-town-party-A-5-31If you have to ask whether the Greenwich Town Party was a success, just know the town made an impromptu decision to keep things going when they were supposed to wind down.

The second annual bash not only had close to 1,500 more tickets sold than last year, but everyone was having so much fun that when the curfew approached, the town decided to keep it going for an hour later. That was just the atmosphere the organizers were hoping for, but now the question is , will it return for a third year after two big successes?

The goal of the party is to unify the Greenwich community, allowing friends and neighbors to reunite in what could be described as a “large scale block party,” a spokesperson for the Greenwich Town Party told the Post. Even some rain showers, during which musical acts were forced to stop performing for an hour, didn’t deter residents from enjoying the day’s festivities, she said. The party was held Saturday at Roger Sherman Baldwin Park to packed crowds even when the skies opened up.

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Prior to the party, over $630,000 was received in donations and sponsorships and donations on the day of the event increased that number by several thousand dollars more. Donations fund 75% of the cost of the event, which is paid for through private money even though it’s on town property, allowing for people from all over town to purchase tickets at an affordable price. The concept of the party is to be “inclusive” by accommodating as many people as possible, the spokesperson said.

In accordance with that purpose, a new feature added to the event this year was that people could watch the Town Party from the comfort of their boats in Greenwich Harbor. The event was projected on a large screen with a built-in sound system, making it visible to boats and other watercraft.

Another popular component added to this year’s party was a series of videos shot between music sets featuring various residents, including First Selectman Peter Tesei, sharing their views on what the Greenwich Town Party is all about. The purpose was to drive home the true message of the community-spirited event, according to the party spokesperson.

Ray Dalio, Greenwich resident and organizer of the Town Party, has devised a three-year plan to get the event off the ground. Accordingly, Mr. Dalio pledged to match all donations made this year to motivate others to get involved, whether it be volunteering to work at the party or donating to the cause. The pledge seemed to serve its purpose, said the party spokesperson, motivating over 150 residents to volunteer this year.

“There was a tremendous outpour of involvement and support,” she said.

Adding to the excitement of the party was a surprise appearance by superstar singer Dave Matthews, who performed a 30-minute acoustic set at Saturday’s event. Mr. Dalio had arranged for the singer’s appearance as a surprise gift for Mark Vallely, director of the Greenwich Town Party, whose birthday was Monday.

Other noteworthy musical performances of the day included a two hour set by 12-time Grammy Award winning artist Paul Simon, as well as Greenwich-born and raised singer Caroline Jones, who “rose to the occasion,” delivering a stellar performance that “wowed everyone”, said the Greenwich Town Party spokesperson.

The organization provides a variety of music at the event, “targeting a wide range of people,” which allows everyone to get a taste of their preferred genre of music , she said.

As for a third annual Greenwich Town Party, nothing is set in stone but the plan is to continue the event next year based on its current template, said the spokesperson. The organization is always looking for new ways to include more people and to garner more support for the event, she said.

It wasn’t all about the music at the Town Party. There was also food from all over town, face painting, games for kids and even some cooking competitions. The winner of this year’s town party “Grill Off” competition, a people’s choice contest, was J.C.’s Wicked BBQ, who scored first place in the event for chicken and pulled pork.

Photographs are courtesy of Post photographer John Ferris Robben. The Paul Simon photograph was taken by Bailey Robben.

 

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