Independence Celebration Planned for Town

Happy Birthday America! Dracut Rotary Club wants to celebrate despite the restrictions imposed as a result of COVID-19. DRC will be hosting an Independence Celebration this year, with the help of Dracut Senior Center and Dracut Access TV. The event will feature complimentary grab-n-go sandwich lunches for seniors, and a special showing of Juggling by Jason Tardy on DATV to entertain all in the community, all compliments of Dracut Rotary Club.

This event is scheduled for Tuesday, June 30. Lunches will be available for pick-up in the Senior Center parking lot from 10:00 am until 12:00 noon. Registration for lunches is required, and seniors can select between Italian, turkey or tuna sandwiches from Primo Pizza of Dracut. Dessert is included from Sugar Coated Bakery, also in Dracut. To register for lunch, call the Dracut Senior Center at 978-957-2611 before Friday, June 26th at 2:00 pm. 

Then all are invited to tune into DATV Channel 8 at 12:30 pm for Jason Tardy and his extraordinary, high-energy juggling and comedy that will delight audiences of all ages. “What an amazing act! said one viewer from Maine about Jason’s non-stop show.This is entertainment for the entire family. 

Special thanks go out to Bethany Loveless, Executive Director of the Dracut Council on Aging; Gary Meuse, Executive Director of DATV; Georgianna Kotsironis of Primo Pizza; Jennifer Dumais of Sugar Coated Bakery; and Warren Shaw of Shaw Farm for the use of the refrigerated truck.

“This is our Independence Day gift to the community,” said President Frank Antifonario.

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“Open for Business” at Dracut Rotary

While staying safe and healthy, Dracut Rotary is continuing to move forward with projects for the community. A weekly ZOOM meeting is keeping members connected and sharing ideas on how to serve others. The club is addressing club business, preparing for the installation of a new slate of officers, and looking forward to projects that will be beneficial to those in need.

The Club sadly acknowledged the death of charter member, Al Daigle, Sr. Al was a devoted Rotarian who proudly boasted about “perfect attendance” for 50 years. Fellow members were all moved by his passing. Their meetings are not the same without his wise input.  

A slate of officers has been presented for 2020-2021. It will be voted on at the next “virtual meeting.” The office of President Elect is still open and nominations will be gladly accepted. 

The cancellation of RYLA 2020 was upsetting for the Club and the seven sophomores who were planning on attending RYLA at Fitchburg State this June. DRC is looking to June of 2021 with the hope that District 7910 will again be able to hold RYLA.  They will keep this year’s selected students posted with options for re-application.

Members discussed several ongoing causes for groups that the Club supports, including The Bridge Club Addiction Center and Catie’s Closet. Also in discussion is how DRC can aid those who need food assistance. Donations were made to the Dracut Food Pantry, the Merrimack Valley Food Bank, St. Vincent de Paul and End 68 Hours of Hunger. 

Additionally, the Club is considering ways to support the restaurants who participate in Dining Around Dracut and our seniors and veterans. We are reaching out to the Dracut Council on Aging and the Dracut Veterans’ Agent to see who might benefit from a gift card from one of these local restaurants. 

DRC is also partnering with the Arbors of Dracut on a group activity project that should brighten the spirits of their senior residents during this difficult time. The Arbors is holding a competition to see “what would you do for a Klondike bar?” The residents will act out what they would do and the staff will video their responses. Family and friends will be able to see the video on their website. It should be a fun event for all, and DRC is supplying the Klondike bars.

The Club is also looking into what other projects they might be able to sponsor, or assist in, for the senior residents at D’Youville Senior Care, and other senior care facilities that are facing such heightened trauma during this frightening time. The discussion is on-going.

Dracut Rotary is “Open for Business” during COVID-19. They are keeping members connected, even members who are not in Dracut at the present time. DRC will continue to consider the needs of their greater Lowell neighbors and do what they can for those in need in the community and the world. 


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Club Pays Tribute to Al Daigle, Sr.

Charter Member Al Daigle Sr. installs Frank Antironario as 50th Anniversary President

It was with great sadness that the Dracut Rotary Club learned of the passing of charter member Al Daigle, Sr. on March 30, 2020. “He was an active, ever present member of the Club and he will be greatly missed,” said Club president, Frank Antifonario.

Al was a member of the Club when the charter was granted by Rotary International on January 17, 1970. He was part of a small group of local businessmen who wanted to bring Rotary’s “service above self” concept to the community of Dracut. He lived his life giving his time and energy to the people of greater Lowell. He was proud of his French heritage and was always anxious to share his ideas and beliefs with others. He lived according to the principles of Rotary’s 4 Way Test; is it the truth, is it fair to all concerned, will it build goodwill and better friendships, and is it beneficial to all concerned.

Al could count among his accomplishments perfect attendance at Rotary meetings for nearly 50 years. Recovering from a serious illness in the winter of 2019, he returned to meetings and went on to attend Dracut Rotary Club’s 50th Anniversary event last November. Visitors to Dining Around Dracut were greeted by Al as they entered the event at Lenzi’s on March 2nd, 2020.

Al Daigle prepares to greet patrons at 2020 Dining Around Dracut.

Due to COVID-19, the Club was physically unable to pay tribute to his legacy at the time of his death. The members made a donation, in his memory, to continue the worldwide work of Rotary International.

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RYLA 2020 Canceled

On April 23, 2020, the RYLA Committee at District 7910 was notified by Fitchburg State University that all June 2020 events were being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “This was certainly a blow to us. RYLA has been an important aspect of Club Service for Dracut Rotary for the past quarter century,” said RYLA Chair, LouAnn Jendro. “It was with a heavy heart that I notified this year’s attendees of this news,” she added.

District RYLA Chair Christine Pinney announced the next in-person RYLA event is scheduled for June 25-27, 2021. “We have put together a Q&A sheet with anticipated questions and answers, and with the ability to add additional questions and answers as they are brought to our attention,” said Christine. “What we know for certain is that much of our future is uncertain. As such, we will continue with our hearty RYLA spirit figuring out problems, and with our Rotary way of life helping wherever we can,” she added.

All students registered to attend in 2020 will be kept informed about future RYLA and Rotary service opportunities. RYLA District 7910 is considering hosting a virtual RYLA event later this year. For more information, about this and the future of RYLA, click here. “The next in-person RYLA event will be the best ever – whenever it is,” said Christine.

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4th Dining Around Dracut Huge Success

Waiting for the winning numbers…

Dracut Rotary Club’s 4th Annual Dining Around Dracut was a huge success. According to Club president, Frank Antifonario, it was the best one yet. The Club welcomed well over 500 guests on Monday, March 2nd, to sample the offerings of 32 local restaurants, bakeries and caterers.  Live music was presented all evening by

Hwy 31 Accoustic Duo

Hwy 31 Acoustic Duo. The patrons were treated to a variety of appetizers and soups, entrees, and desserts and asked to choose their favorites in each category. When the votes were counted,

Primo’s Pizza * Restaurant took home the prize for Best Appetizer and Soup;

Primo Pizza

the Best Entree category went to Brown & Budnick Meats;

Brown & Budnick Meats

and Best Dessert was awarded to Ella May’s Country Kitchen and Bakery.

Ella May’s Country Kitchen


Sugar Coated Bakery of Dracut took home the prize for the Best Presentation.

Sugar Coated Bakery


With dozens of raffle prizes to take a chance on, the crowd waited patiently for the numbers to be pulled. Happy patrons went home with some excellent treasures, with the Flanagans of Lowell winning the grand prize, a wide screen TV.

According to Dracut Rotary Club, this event is a winner. The restaurants must agree. Most come back every year to the delight of the crowd.


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It’s Time Again For Dining Around Dracut

Enjoy the best of the Merrimack Valley’s taste treats at the Dracut Rotary Club’s 4th annual Dining Around Dracut. Sample the offerings of thirty-four restaurants, bakers and caterers from Greater Lowell and beyond on Monday, March 2, 2020 at Lenzi’s on Merrimack Avenue (Rte 110) in Dracut, from 6:30 to 8:30pm. You could win a great door prize or take home some great gifts from the silent auction. Guests can take a chance on dozens of gift certificates, prizes and gift baskets as well. Tickets are $25 in advance, or $30 at the door. So why wait. Get your ticket now at Albert Daigle Insurance, Alexander’s Pharmacy, Dracut Hardware, The Fox Cut Salon, Lenzi’s, Lupine Designs, or Szczepanik Insurance. You can even buy your ticket online at For information or to donate to the raffle or sponsor the event, contact Dracut Rotary at

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Four New Members Inducted Into Dracut Rotary

President Frank leads the Induction Ceremony for new members Ann Tinnirella, Gerogianna Kotsironis, Dan Cotnoir and Lisa Benoit. On Tuesday, January 28th, Dracut Rotary Club inducted four new members into the club. President Frank Antifonario led the ceremony, welcoming Ann Tinnirella, Georgianna Kotsironis, Dan Cotnoir, and Lisa Benoit, as DRC’s newest members. “You are joining the Rotarians in our club and over 1.2 million Rotarians in over 200 countries. All are business and professional people united by the common ideal of service,” said president Frank.

Dan Cotnoir is the director of Edgar J. Racicot Funeral Home in Dracut. Lisa Benoit is the Managing Broker at Coco, Early & Associates Real Estate in Dracut. Ann Tinnirell is the owner and founder of Carbon Colors, One Stop Print Shop. Georgianna Kotsironis is the owner and Resource Manager of Primo Pizza & Catering in Dracut. 

Frank noted the commitment and advantages of being a Rotarian, joining over a million others worldwide who employ their leadership and professional skills in the pursuit of “service above self” for the betterment of their community, their country and the world. He encouraged them to become engaged in the efforts and goals of Dracut Rotary.

The new members were then warmly welcomed by all in attendance. They are off and running, joining in already on plans for the upcoming Rotary Youth Leadership Awards and Dining Around Dracut projects. 

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DRC Kicks Off Season With 13th Annual Gingerbread Competition

Saturday, December 7th, was the official start of the holiday season in Dracut, and Dracut Rotary got the festivities going with their 13th Annual Gingerbread House Competition. The event was a huge success according to chair Tami Dristiliaris, with families visiting Gagnon Hall to view the festive creations and enjoy the holiday fun all day long. Visitors enjoyed the holiday music, decorated cookies and took chances to win a creation to take home.

They also voted for their favorite entries. There were four categories in the competition; Professional, Adult, Young Adult (ages 13 to 19 years) and Children (through age 12 ). The winners of the four categories were announced at the close of the event. 

In the Professional category 1st place went to Sugar Coated Bakery of Dracut; 2nd was awarded to Bittersweet Bake Shoppe of Tyngsboro. 

In the Adult category, 1st place went to John Cole, 2nd place was awarded to Rep. Colleen Garry and Staff, and in 3rd was Christine Cole.

The Young Adult 1st place award went to the RARA Team of LeeAnne Barry, Tina Broussard, Tammy O’Malley and George Sarault. The 2nd place was awarded to Olivia Keating, Kelley Sylvester and Jadyn Hood; and in 3rd place were Charlei Keating and Thomas Tziotzioras. 

In the Children’s category, 1st place went to Dimitri, Alyson and Kate Asikis. The 2nd place winners were the members of Pack 80 Den 6 Boy Scouts, and 3rd place was awarded to Girl  Scout Troop 67530.

While DRC does not charge admission for the event, donations are accepted. All proceeds from the sale of raffle tickets go to benefit the Dracut Food Pantry.

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Register Now for 13th Annual Gingerbread Competition

It’s time again to register for DRC’s Annual Gingerbread House Competition to be held on Saturday, December 7, 2019. This is the 13th year for the event, held on the first Saturday of December by Dracut Rotary Club. 

“This is our holiday gift to the town,” said club president Frank Antifonario. “It’s held on the same day as the tree lighting ceremony at the school complex on Lakeview Avenue,” added Frank. “It’s a special day for us and we are accepting registrations now,” he added. 

As always, proceeds will benefit the Dracut Food Pantry, according to Tami Dristilaris, this year’s event chair. The concept was initially Tami’s idea more than a decade ago and it has been a popular annual event ever since. 

The competition will be held at Dracut’s Gagnon (Harmony) Hall, on Lakeview Avenue, from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm. There is no charge for admission. Guests are only asked to bring donations for Dracut’s Food Pantry. There will be cookie decorating for children all day, holiday music will be featured, refreshments will be available, and Santa will stop by from 5:00 to 7:00 pm.  

You don’t have to be a commercial baker to enter, and prizes will be awarded in four categories; professionals (bakers, chefs…),  amateurs, young adults (13 to 19 years), and children up to 12 years (including classrooms). Guests will be asked to vote on their favorite gingerbread creations in each category. Their votes will determine the winners and cash prizes will be awarded. 

Don’t delay. Register today. This is your chance to show off your creativity. Download your registration form and get out your cookbooks. What better way is there to kickoff the holiday season in Dracut? See you on December 7th.

1st place 2018 Young Adult category

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Club to Host Railway Show at Old Home Day

Dracut Rotary is pleased to announce that the Club will be hosting the New Hampshire Garden Railway Society at this year’s Dracut Old Home Day, September 7, 2019. The NHGRS is a group of dedicated garden railroad enthusiasts from across New England with a shared interest in promoting the growth of large-scale trains and garden railroading. They participate in shows, displaying their club-owned layouts, to support events for groups such as  Rotaty, Lions Clubs and Schriners. They are renowned for their top quality layouts, featuring exceptional detail.  

“This Is something you’re not going to want to miss,” said Dracut Rotary Club President, Frank Antifonario. Frank first saw their display almost a year ago and was blown away by the trains, model buildings and landscaping. He began planning for the NHGRS’s participation in this year’s Old Home Day earlier this year. “The Club is really excited about being able to bring the Garden Railway Society to this year’s event,” added Frank.

Dracut Old Home Day opens at 9:00 am, Saturday, September 7th at the Daoulas School Complex on Lakeview Avenue. The Garden Railway display will be open for all to see from 9:00 am until the event closes at 5:00 pm. This exciting display will be set up inside Gagnon Harmony Hall and outside under a tent adjacent to the Hall. While there is no charge to view the railroads, donations will be accepted. 

To learn more about the New Hampshire Garden Railway Society, visit them at


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