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New London - If it's the first Saturday of the new year, it can mean only one thing for many in New London and Waterford - time to go to Buscetto's Bash at the Beach.
Former New London City Councilor Michael Buscetto III continues his tradition of bringing the community together and raising thousands of dollars for youth activities, libraries, sports and the arts.
The seventh annual Bash at the Beach starts at 6 p.m. Jan. 4 at Ocean Beach Park. Tickets are $15 at the door. More information is at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Facebook.
Buscetto, a lifelong resident of New London who has moved to Waterford, last year expanded the bash to include organizations in both New London and Waterford.
"These two towns have to live together," said Buscetto, who served two terms on the City Council and ran unsuccessfully for mayor. "I moved to Waterford, my restaurant's in Waterford. And many Waterford people have gone to the event over the years. Both communities need each other."
The first bash in 2007 was a "thank you" to those who supported Buscetto's successful run for New London City Council. Now, the event attracts hundreds of people and has raised around $300,000, Buscetto said. The Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut administers the funds.
The first bash included performances by the New London High School marching band, demonstrations by the police department's K-9 unit and some razzing of community leaders. Buscetto is the master of ceremonies, and no one is beyond a playful ribbing to get them to reach deeper into their pockets for a donation.
"I like to remind people that we need their help and that some how, some way, we have to support these organizations," he said. "I'm truly appreciative of how generous everyone is."
This year's bash will include donated food from Mr. G's, Recovery Room, Muddy Waters and Buscetto's own restaurant, Filomena's in Waterford. Buscetto said he is also planning some surprise entertainment. Items up for auction include Major League Baseball tickets.
"It's really fun," said Buscetto. "People tell me to keep doing it, so I do."