Rotary Club puts on roast of Mayor Avedisian
Mayor Scott Avedisian couldn’t say no. Now he doesn’t know what to expect, other than that he’s going to feel the heat.
This is heat like in roasting.
In a rare event, as Avedisian had been asked if he would agree to being roasted on many occasions and turned all of them down, except the request of the Fund for Community Progress many years ago, the mayor has put himself at the mercy of the Warwick Rotary Club.
The intent of the evening, apart from having some fun at the mayor’s expense, is to raise funds for scholarships and the Rotary Charitable Foundation.
The roast, which appropriately has a barbecue theme, will be held Thursday, Oct. 19 at 6 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel. The lineup of grill masters includes some of Avedisian’s longtime friends and political acquaintances, like former governor Lincoln Chafee, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung and Father Robert Marciano, pastor of St. Kevin Church. WJAR TV Anchor and WPRO Radio host Gene Valicenti, who surely has some stories to share, will serve as master of ceremonies. Longtime friend of the mayor Mark Russell, who has been involved in his campaigns, will also take the microphone.
But how did the Rotary Club get Avedisian to agree to a roast?
“It’s hard to say no to Jan and Lara,” the mayor said Tuesday.
That’s Janice Constantine and Lara D’Antuono, both Rotary club members. The three met to talk about the idea, and Avedisian said a big part of what sold him was the thought that, seemingly without a lot of effort, some significant money could be raised to help people looking to better themselves through education.
D’Antuono said she, Constantine and the mayor talked about “what would be appropriate and fun.” She confesses, too, “I’m not one to miss an opportunity to bust someone else’s beans.”
Might she provide a few insights to the evening, a sample of the fare?
“Expect the unexpected,” she answered. “Nothing is off limits, it’s all fair game.” She assured, however, the mayor will be “going from heaven to hell.”
“We asked nicely only the way Lara and I can do it,” said Constantine.
Apart from being a member of the Rotary Club, Constantine noted that Avedisian is a supporter of the club’s charitable work and that was a major consideration.
“Being mayor is no picnic,” she said, explaining the theme of the event with pulled pork, corn bread, baked beans and barbecue foods. She said attire for the evening is informal and there’s no stopping those who might want to be more colorful with straw hats, jeans and what would work for a picnic.
But Constantine cautioned those on planning to attend not to delay the purchase of tickets at $125, as seating at the Radisson is limited to 300. One hundred tickets had been sold as of Wednesday. Also, she said, there are sponsorship opportunities. Club member Ed Tavares chairs the sponsorship committee. Other committee chairs include Carol Ritarossi, Dean Scanlon and Melanie Flamand. Tickets are available at the Warwick Rotary Club website and from Global Excellence in Apponaug.
As newly elected chair of the Community College Foundation, Avedisian is keen on having a portion of the funds raised go to CCRI scholarships, even though under the governor’s Rhode Island Promise two years of free tuition is going to 2017 high school graduates. Tuition, he notes, is a part of the cost of college and the scholarships could be used to cover the cost of books and other expenses.
Considering what a roast could raise to help students, Avedisian said, “It would be wrong to say no.”