WOONSOCKET – When you celebrate a 125th birthday, it helps to have a very large cake.
And it was a good thing Pauline Dubois and her son, Michael, had made a cake four-feet by three-feet in the shape of the city of Woonsocket given the number of people showing up at Ciro’s Tavern on Cherry Street Thursday night to celebrate Woonsocket’s incorporation as a city 125 years ago.
Ciro’s owner Matt Moylan and his wife, Jill, along with Jill’s sister, Gina, and their parents sponsored the kick-off fundraiser for the city’s upcoming Main Street Block Party on Aug. 29 and it should not have been a surprise that more than 350 people filled the tavern for the event.
“It’s wonderful,” Sen. Roger Picard said while looking over the assembled residents, business leaders, public officials and city employees and even state leaders such as State General Treasurer Gina Raimondo. “It’s unfortunate that the city doesn’t get all the attention it should get. We have a lot of good things in the city and they are all here tonight.”
Matt Moylan said he was happy to see all the support for the upcoming Main Street Block Party and was proud that Ciro’s could be the host of such a well attended kick-off.
“It’s a nice event and people have been phoning in all day buying tickets and making donations,” he said.
The gathering included a wide assortment of hor d'oeuvres from Ciro’s menu and other special treats. The Adam Go Quartet played jazz and other tunes in the downstairs lounge, and the event even filled the upstairs dining areas of Ciro’s that are done in a medieval manor theme complete with wall tapestries and suits of armor.
The cake was laid out on a table in the upstairs dining room and was cut by Mayor Leo T. Fontaine, who helped plan a 125th Anniversary Main Street Block Party in August, and City Council President John F. Ward.
“It’s really unbelievable. It’s a great turnout and I am really happy to see so many people come out to celebrate such a positive thing for the city,” Fontaine said.
The mayor acknowledged that the city has a difficult road ahead in solving its fiscal crisis but also pointed to the gathering as a way of showing people could come together in the city’s best interest as they were doing Thursday night.
“It is nice to see everyone put the negatives aside for a night and come out to celebrate with us,” Fontaine said.
The kick-off will be followed by additional events at Vintage Restaurant, Christopher’s and Chan’s and other functions as well, according to Fontaine.
“Everything will lead up to our Main Street Block Party on Aug. 29,” he said.
Ward said he also believed the turnout for the fundraiser to be a good sign for the city.
“It is great to take a night off from all of our problems,” he said.
Ward also pointed to the need to celebrate the best things in Woonsocket.
“Every community should take the time to celebrate its history,” he said. “Woonsocket is a good city and it has a great future and I’m glad I’m around to be a part of this.”
The city’s General Assembly members also attended the cake cutting ceremony, as did a number of members of the city’s fire department, police department, school department and city hall.
Michael Morin, president of the Woonsocket firefighters union, said he thought the gathering was a big turnout, much better than could be expected for a rainy night in the city.
“I know the Savini family and this is a well-known event benefitting the city, so I’m not surprised,” he said.
Rep. Lisa Baldelli-Hunt, joining the upstairs crowd with Rep. Robert Phillips and former Rep. Jon Brien, said she believed the gathering was a “wonderful turnout for the city.”
“My family has been friends with the Savinis and the Moylans for years and it is not surprising that they get this kind of support,” she said.
“They are very involved in their community and it’s good to see Matt take the lead in fundraising for the Main Street Block Party.
Baldelli-Hunt said she also believed the evening showed what is best about Woonsocket.
“I was speaking to the Speaker of the House about Woonsocket the other day and he said one of the things a city has to have to make it great is spirit and that is what we have here. We don’t want to lose that spirit because it is going to help the city push ahead and end up in a better place,” she said.