After an eleven year drought Dr. Anthony Pascale walked away a winner on Sunday in two categories at the annual Marlborough UNICO Tomato Contest.
“It took 11 years but I finally won,” he laughed. “I won in the Overall and in the Senior categories so we donated $200 back to UNICO, the seven grandchildren will get $20 a piece and I’ll get $60 bucks out of the deal if I’m lucky [but] I’ve got bragging rights for a year; I’m the Big Tomato.”
In 2006 Dr. Pascale helped Rose DeMarco revive the contest, which had begun in the 1950s but had died out. By 2008 UNICO stepped into run the contest and used the proceeds to help those in need in the community. To start off, this past Spring farmer Amy Hepworth donated 220 plants that UNICO sold for $20 each for the fundraiser.
“Its really a very big community effort and the money that they raise goes to a great cause,” he said. “Its a nice friendly competition to be in; everybody’s a winner.”
This year UNICO provided 3 graduating seniors with $1,500 each, based upon their overcoming difficulties in their lives.
UNICO President Nick Johannets said each year the event gets a little bigger. He loves being a UNICO member.
“Its the camaraderie of these guys and we have a good time,” he said. “The Italian heritage part is a key; we all have a lot of similarities on how we grew up and did things. Its a great group of people.”
This year Johannets plans to recruit younger individuals and families to join UNICO.
“The thirty and younger is tough and is what we have to work on. They don’t teach volunteering in school and we try to teach by example,” he said.
Kevin Lyons performed on guitar with the band ‘All Too Real’ along with Jimmie Palmer on lead guitar and background vocals and Michael Fasano on lead vocals and percussion. The band performs folk, classic 1970s and a bit of hard rock. They say the most obscure song they perform is the 1991 “Man in the Box” by Alice in Chains.
“Its great people, its a good time and a great gathering, You can’t beat it,” Lyons said.
By Mark Reynolds