The 38th annual October Sunday Beach Jam is going to have a decidedly new twist this Sunday. After hosting the songfest for the past almost four decades, founders Fred and Polly Watts will be guests of honor at Magens Bay from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at shed four.
After all these decades executing the popular community fundraiser – a labor of love, but still – the Watts have decided to pass the baton of organizing the event to the Family Resource Center.
Vernon Araujo, FRC development director, put it this way: "The event has raised thousands of dollars for (FRC) throughout its years. We aim to raise more funds this year than ever before with a fresh musical lineup, the delicious potluck buffet and everything else to honor Fred and Polly."
Araujo’s enthusiasm is the fitting ingredient for carrying the dedication that has gone into the community songfest for all these years. Polly Watts said this week, "After 38 years, we decided to leave the organizing to someone else, and the Resource Center happily obliged."
Which is not to say their voices won’t be heard Sunday. The Watts will be present with family and friends and the popular "Women of Note," a group of eight or so women led by Polly Watts who simply love to sing together.
In 2000, the Watts decided to scale down the festival, which since the first, small celebration of local music, had grown to attract thousands crowding venues from Crown Bay to Joseph Aubain Ballpark in Frenchtown.
After 2000, they moved the event to Magens Bay, where it became the October Sunday Beach Jam, a smaller, though no less fun affair. For the last seven years, the Friends of October Sunday have partnered with FRC.
All proceeds from Sunday’s event go to continue its much needed outreach, counseling and sheltering services for victims of domestic violence on St. Thomas.
Araujo said the lineup Sunday includes local artists Tommy August and the Rum Syndicate, Jugga Rock, Broc JW Lee, Flipswitch, the IEKHS Jazz Ensemble, Family & Friends, and the Dizzy Lizard Band, who will perform throughout the day starting at will perform throughout the day.
And there is a huge free birthday cake for everyone, face painting, popcorn and cotton candy, a spiffy flea market and a cash bar.
There is no charge for admission.
For more information visit www.facebook.com/events/743657422361020/?ref=22.