Annual Neighbor Day to be celebrated at Westerly Town Hall on Sunday

Annual Neighbor Day to be celebrated at Westerly Town Hall on Sunday

The Westerly Sun

WESTERLY — On Sunday from noon to 3 p.m., the steps of Town Hall will be the site of the community’s 24th annual Neighbor Day celebration.

Westerly began celebrating Neighbor Day in 1993 in response to the death of a teen who was stabbed. Since then, it has been celebrated every year on the Sunday before Memorial Day. The event is free, and the food is from donations.

“It’s a day of recognition, to say hi to our neighbors and be thankful for the community,” said James Silvestri, Town Council president.

Neighbor Day festivities will begin at noon with a salute to the flag, prayers, and a performance by the Westerly Band. There will be songs, face-painting, food, balloon creatures and many other activities.

“This is something that’s good. No matter whether bad things happen or not, it’s the good that comes out of people that makes the difference,” said Neighbor Day founder Mary Jane DiMaio.

DiMaio and Caroline Komorowski, the organizers, encourage attendees to speak at the event by leading a prayer or reciting a poem. DiMaio said she just wants the public to be involved, and she especially wants young people to speak and be introduced to public service.

“We expect the public. If they want to write a poem or do anything, we’ll put them right up on the stage in front of Town Hall, and that’s all good,” DiMaio said at a recent town meeting. “It gets people involved, it gets people to meet you all, face to face, shaking hands. That’s part of what Westerly’s for.”

The committee’s goal is for Neighbor Day to be celebrated worldwide. The holiday is currently recognized in the United States, but in 2015 the Neighbor Day Committee had so few people involved that the event had to be canceled.

Currently the committee has 14 active members. To become a member of the Neighbor Day Committee, fill out an application in the Town Clerk’s office.


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