Dunk a councilman for a good cause
Gallagher, Paige taking turns in tank to raise money for centers at first-time Sunflower Festival

       A dunk tank at the Westside Community Center's Sunflower Festival Saturday, March 20 will offer City Councilmembers Sean Paige and Tom Gallagher as targets.

Tom Gallagher

       The two will be either in the water or available for conversation with constitutents between noon and 3 p.m., according to Karen Fleming of the volunteer Westside Agricultural Learning Center (WALC).
       In conjunction with planting a community garden outside the city-owned center, WALC is helping organize the first-time festival as a private fundraiser for the city's four community centers, which are currently slated to run out of city funding after this month.
       The event itself will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the center, 1628 W. Bijou St., followed at 6 p.m. by a judged hair-styling competition.
       There is no admission fee to the festival, in which center classes, activities and programs will be showcased through performances and displays. “It will be like a day in the life of the community centers,” Fleming said. “People can meet those who are involved and see what they will miss when the centers are gone.”
       The plan is to donate some of the festival proceeds (which are expected to come mainly from vendor sales at the event) to the centers, she said.
       When Fleming, William Halliburton and Sherry Bennett of WALC announced the festival and dunk-tank plan March 9 during the Citizen's Discussion portion of the City Council meeting, they gained an unexpected donation.
       After apologizing for not being able to attend, Mayor Lionel Rivera told WALC, “I would pay good money for other people to dunk Mr. Paige and Mr. Gallagher.” Informed that the cost per throw would be $1 and assured that accurate throwers would be on hand, Rivera said he was “willing to pay for 20 shots,” and handed the WALC group a $20 bill.

Sean Paige

       Paige responded by congratulating WALC for working with the city on its garden plans and expressed readiness for the dunk-tank experience. “Some people think I'm all wet and should go soak my head,” he said. “They can come out and take advantage of this opportunity.”

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