By Larry Claflin Jr.
The Danvers Family Festival grows a little each year, as organizers add more events to the town's annual two-week extravaganza.
This year's celebration kicks off June 18 with the Baron Mayer Champagne Reception at Glen Magna Farms. Keelin Dawe, immediate past chairwoman, will oversee the reception this year.
As chairwoman in 2009, Dawe helped coordinate every Family Festival event; she first began volunteering in 2001.
"It's just been a ball of fun ever since (I joined)," said Dawe, a Danvers resident married to George "Joe" Dawe, a town native. "I've had a lot of fun."
The Dawes had one child when Keelin got involved; now they have four.
"(Family Festival) is just a wonderful tradition," Dawe said, adding that every year her father and stepmother visit from upstate New York for the event's first week, and her mother and stepfather travel from California for week two. "It's part of my family now."
And her kids have grown up with the festival.
"There are so many wonderful activities, from Endicott Park Day to last year's Clark Farm Family Fun Day," she said, recounting her children's favorite events. "... And Scoop-Ah-Bowl — they can't wait to get their ice cream — and there are all the fun rides and the bands ... the bouncy house..."
The Ice Cream Scoop-Ah-Bowl and Endicott Park Day will return, as will other favorite traditions, such as Oldies Night, the Fireworks Festival and more. Also, several new events have been added — the Danvers Historical Society's "Lunchtime History Series," a boat parade at Pope's Landing and "Mass Memories" at the Peabody Institute Library. ÔÇÑ
Before the official festival, local singers will participate in preliminary rounds of Danvers Idol, June 2 and 3.
Additionally, several competitions take place during the Family Festival, many for good causes, such as the Danvers Recreation Fishing Derby in memory of Mike Gordon (June 20), Kiwanis Five Mile Road Race (June 25), North Shore Arc Walk & Family Celebration (June 27), Kiwanis vs. Rotary Softball Game (July 2), and Donnie Barnett Memorial Softball Tournament (TBA).
IF YOU GO
What: Danvers Family Festival
Where: Various locations around Danvers
When: June 18 through July 4 (Fireworks Festival rain date, July 5)
Cost: Free, some events require admission fee
More information: www.danversfamilyfestival.com