WATERTOWN — The first Night Out On Main Street was hosted on Saturday, June 15. Residents enjoyed the town’s main street and visited booths set up by local businesses and organizations.
The Watertown Police Department had a booth raising money for the Special Olympics. Deputy Chief Josh Bernegger and Lieutenant Tim Gavallas plan to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to raise money for the cause.
The parents of Project Graduation raised money for next year’s graduation class, having hosted a successful project grad event the night before.
Other organizations were the Watertown High School French Club, the Lions Club and Sun, Moon and Stars.
Residents were able to shop at local businesses who stayed open later or had booths at the event.
The highlight of the night was the annual lip sync battle.
Residents in town competed against each other to gather the most money for charity.
This year’s judges were Superintendent of Schools Dr. Rydell Harrison, state Sen. Eric Berthel, R-32, and Kellie Lambert.
Hosting the battle was resident John Elliott.
First on stage was Jeremy Braddock of Hardcore Sweet Cupcakes with his dog, Biggie Smalls. He lip synced the 90s classic “Hypnotize” by Biggie Smalls. The crowd cheered as Mr. Braddock danced with Biggie.
Next up were the Watertown High School students who performed in this year’s spring musical “We Will Rock You.” The students filled the stage and sang “We Will Rock You” by Queen.
Members from JMK Line Dancing took the stage and danced to “Last Night” by Chris Anderson. While there was not a lot of lip syncing in their performance, the judges allowed it, and everyone enjoyed the performance.
Two-time lip sync champion Luigi Velardi was up next and this time he had help. Knights of Columbus member Chris Martin brought a ukulele and began lip syncing the Bradley Cooper verses of “Shallow” from the movie “A Star is Born.”
Mr. Velardi jumped onto the stage lip syncing the Lady Gaga verses. The two performed a beautiful lip sync duet to the song, with the audience cheering them on.
Mr. Velardi was not content with just one Lady Gaga song. After disappearing behind a curtain for a few minutes, he came back on stage in full Lady Gaga mode wearing a black dress, a wig and sparkling mask.
Moving amongst the crowd, he lip synced Lady Gaga’s classic hit “Poker Face.” The performance received a roaring applause from the audience.
Last up were the defending lip sync champions, the Watertown Fire Department. Dressed in cowboy hats and suspenders, the department synced to “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus.
Despite a brief stint of rain, the fire department was undeterred and continued singing, and the crowd remained cheering them on. The fire department was able to complete their performance despite the rain.
After all performances, residents voted for the best lip sync routine.
Buckets were placed on stage for each team. Residents dropped money in the buckets and each dollar counted as a vote for a specific performer. The money raised from the competition will be split evenly between two charities.
Jumping Jack Playground - Where All Kids Can Play is a local non-profit that is raising money for an expansion of the handicap accessible playground at Veteran’s Park.
The project is in honor of local resident Jack Caouette.
The funds will be used to add three new pieces of equipment that will accommodate children of all abilities. The group plans on building a spinning We-Go-Round, a two-seated Friendship Swing and a ZipKrooz. They also plan to build fencing and benches for the playground.
“I just want a place where he can play with anybody,” said Holly Werenko, Jack’s mother and founder of the organization.
“All kids should be able to play,” she added
The Watertown High School Musical Theatre Association will receive funds raised by the competition.
The theater association raised money for WHS’ annual spring musical. The funds will be used to buy equipment, props, costumes and other materials used to help the high school’s next musical production.
In total $1,812 was raised from the competition with $500 coming from the local Knights of Columbus chapter.
The winner of this year’s lip sync battle was Mr. Velardi, allowing him to become three-time champion of the competition.
“The town is awesome,” said Mr. Velardi, thanking residents for coming out to the event and donating for both charities.
There will be other block parties on Main Street this summer. The next one will be Saturday, July 20.