Planning is underway for the much-anticipated 2021 Hull PorchFest event, the goal of the nonprofit PorchFest being to highlight the thriving Hull music and arts community, strengthen bonds within this close-knit town, benefit local businesses, and continue to support worthy local causes.
Mark your calendars for a June 22 fundraiser and also for the main event on Saturday, Sept. 18, a free-of-charge celebration of local civic pride on the beach side of the Kenberma neighborhood. The event had to be cancelled last year due to the pandemic.
The fundraiser, scheduled for 7 p.m. at The Parrot, will feature live music, complimentary appetizers, a 50/50 raffle, silent auction, and a cash bar. Special musical guests will include Chuck Vermette and Mike Tetrault, Renae Ann, and Mike Dardis. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door and are available at hullporchfest.org. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Anne Scully Senior Center, and the remainder will help cover operating expenses.
As part of the planning for the main event, Tom Hardey, who is organizing Hull PorchFest with the help of many volunteers, has met with the police chief, deputy police chief, and other town officials to ensure a “fully pedestrian, very safe environment. We will encourage walking and biking and will have printed maps for the different venues,” he told The Hull Times.
Several bands and performers are already booked. Some residents have committed their porches as performance venues, but more are needed to help make the event a success. Sponsorships from last year’s cancelled PorchFest will be honored this year, and new sponsors are also welcome. (Further information is available at the website listed above.)
“We’re hoping for a crowd of upwards of 1,500 attendees, and about 40 performers/bands,” similar to the first event in 2018, Hardey said.
He and the other volunteers are also hoping for as much success with the June 22 fundraiser as was the case with last year’s similar event at The Parrot, before COVID-19 hit and the 2020 PorchFest was cancelled.
‘”We had a big crowd and were able to make a large donation to the senior center,” Hardey recalled. Proceeds from last year’s fundraiser will cover some of the expenses of this year’s PorchFest.
Hardey expressed appreciation for Parrot owner Brian Houlihan, not only for his support of PorchFest but also for his generosity toward the community during the pandemic – in particular, his involvement with the Better Together hot meals program for seniors and others during a challenging time.
Hull resident Sue Lynch, a member of the PorchFest Planning Committee who leads the fundraising effort, first became involved when Hardey’s wife, Trish, knocked on her door in 2018 shortly after Lynch moved to town.
‘”She said I had the perfect porch and asked if I was interested in hosting performers during that year’s event,” Lynch recalled. “I loved the idea. This was the perfect way for me to start off in, and to get connected with, my new community.”
This proved to be just the right fit with her experience in fundraising and her ability “to throw a good party. I love to entertain and to bring people together,” Lynch said. “Everyone involved with PorchFest is so engaged and excited to be part of bringing this kind of energy to the community.”
Lynch is expecting many supporters to attend the fundraiser. “The timing was just right with the recent lifting of COVID-19 restrictions,” she said. “We’re all coming out of hibernation, and it’s time to celebrate through both this fundraiser, other events leading up to Sept. 18, and Hull PorchFest itself.”
A number of local businesses are involved with the effort. As examples, the graphic arts for the PorchFest logo and event flyers are the work of Hull resident Jeanne Miller, and PorchFest merchandise, such as hats and shirts, is the creation of Judy Walton, who also lives in town.
(Raffle donations are welcome. Email Lynch at email@example.com for details.)