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Around Florence: Summer fun lined up for Florence village

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  • VICTORIA PEARSON<br/>Dick Dragon sings lead accompanied by the rest of the members of Young @ Heart chorus at Florence Civic Center on Thursday.

The recent heat wave notwithstanding, summer doesn’t actually begin until June 21 and plans are under way for the season’s first big local event.

The third annual Northampton Family Fourth Celebration is set to start the summer off literally with bang June 22 at Look Park.

Priscilla Ross, chairwoman of the Family Fourth committee, said attendance has grown each year and she expects that trend to continue.

“It’s an amazing sight to look up the hill and see this swarm of people,” Ross said about crowds in previous years. “There’s very few things in town like this.”

Ross said people often remark about the community spirit the event fosters.

Ross said the event offered a welcome return of annual fireworks to the area with its inaugural celebration two years ago. “We haven’t had fireworks in Northampton in a long time,” Ross said. “Now, people say our fireworks are the best they’ve ever seen.”

Admission is free, although donations are accepted, Ross said. The event kicks off at 5 p.m. with hot air balloon rides and carnival games, including a new obstacle course sponsored by Northampton’s athletic booster clubs, Ross said.

All that activity is likely to create an appetite, and local food venders will be on hand to help quell it, including La Vera Cruzana, The Laughing Tomato, Double Ds, the Lions Club and the Florence Civic and Business Association.

Several games, which cost money, will be offered.

If sitting and listening sounds better than tossing, dunking or floating, music begins at 5:30 with the John Brandoli Band, followed by McAllister Drive and Jamie Kent and the Options, and finishes at 8:30 with the Florence Community Band, which will play until the fireworks begin around 9:20.

“It brings out the best in people,” Ross said of the event.

More information is available at the group’s website, northamptonfamilyfourth.com.

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Summer music

Another summer tradition in Florence is set to begin this month as the Music on the Porch series kicks off June 20 at 6 p.m. with the Florence Community Band and Green Street Brew performing.

Shows will run every Thursday, with the exception of July 4, always at 6 p.m. at the Florence Civic Center, 90 Park St.

The following is the schedule of performances:

∎ June 27, The Mike Hooker Experience;

∎ July 11, The Sun Parade;

∎July 18, Young@Heart Chorus;

∎July 25, Heritage Pops Orchestra;

∎Aug. 1, Acoustic Brew;

∎Aug. 8, Campfire Night with The Bumsteers;

∎Aug. 15, Bad News Jazz and Blues Orchestra;

∎Aug. 22, Heather Maloney;

∎Aug. 29, Lonesome Brothers.

All shows are free. Concertgoers are invited to bring blankets and picnic on the lawn.

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