WATERVILLE — Organizers are gearing up for the 10th annual North End Night, a celebration of community for people who live in the North End area of the city.

The event, to be held 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday in Dave Quirion Park on Drummond Avenue, will include music, food, kids’ games, bounce houses, a dunk tank and gift certificates donated by area businesses to be given away throughout the evening.

“Ever since the beginning we’ve been doing all of that, just as a way to say ‘thank you’ to the community members and try to build this sense of community in the North End,” said Steve Aucoin, who founded the event 10 years ago and continues to be one of the organizers.

What started 10 years ago as a way to get the North End community together for an evening out has grown into a huge celebration that draws between 500 and 600 people annually. Children of all ages and their parents or guardians and older people who may be lonely and want to socialize typically turn out for the event.

The event is free because area businesses and individuals donate food and money to put on the celebration, whose main contributors are Arcon Realty, owned by Arthur and Connie Turmelle, Waterville Housing Authority and Living Water Community Church, according to Aucoin.

Aucoin, who works for the Alfond Youth Center, got the idea for North End Night when he was director of the North End satellite office of the youth center and Waterville Area Boys & Girls Club for four years.

Every year, a plaque is given to a special supporter of North End Night and this year it will be presented to Tom Davis, owner of Are You Ready to Party??, Aucoin said. Davis has been generous in donating the use of a party tent and dunk tank, free of charge, he said.

“One time he gave us a bunch of helium-filled balloons,” he said.

Hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, soda and water will be available, as will cotton candy and sno-cones. Maureen’s Young American Dance Troupe will perform.

Aucoin said he is proud of the way the event has grown and flourished over the years and people have stepped up to the plate to donate and volunteer to help. He said the nice thing is, there are always people who just want to be asked to help and are happy when they are asked.

“That makes you feel great, and it certainly will make us feel good,” he said. “It’s mutually beneficial. It’s like paying it forward. People are underestimated sometimes, and they’re really waiting for somebody to come along and say, ‘Hey, can you do something for us?’ And I would say, 9 times out of 10, the answer is ‘yes.'”

If it rains, the event will be held at the same time on Thursday, according to Aucoin.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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