By TAYLOR HARTZ
The Apple Harvest Festival Supervisory Committee has announced that former long-time CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Art Secondo will serve as this year’s Grand Marshall for the Apple Harvest Festival parade.
Christopher Palmieri, Town Councilor and Co-Chairman of the festival’s Supervisory Committee, said Secondo was selected by a unanimous vote.
“He met all the criteria,” said Palmieri, who explained that the committee seeks to honor individuals who have been involved in the festival and have made a significant impact in the town of Southington.
Palmieri listed Secondo’s involvement with the Chamber, the Town Council, and the Board of Park Commissioners as examples of his abundant service to the committee.
“He’s got quite a varied background and we thought he would be the perfect person,” said Palmieri.
Jim Champagne, Festival Coordinator, said that the opportunities for the parade’s Grand Marshall are “unlimited” and agreed that Secondo was the perfect fit for the honor.
“He is a die hard Southington fan,” said Champagne, who applauded Secondo’s hard work organizing the festival and running the business expo.
With the chamber, Secondo coordinated the festival in his first year as CEO, before the town took over its organization. Since then, he has hosted the annual business expo tent, which offers local businesses a chance to network with the community, and has heavily promoted and advertised the festival through the Chamber each year.
“It’s like being Mayor for the day in Southington, and since we don’t have a Mayor, this is quite an honor,” said Secondo.
After 12 years as CEO, Secondo retired from the Chamber this summer.
“It’s been a bittersweet year since leaving the Chamber of Commerce, so obviously I am very honored and appreciative,” said the man often known as “Mr. Southington.”
Champagne said Secondo will be driven through the parade in a convertible, and will be awarded “a moment when he can receive some applause and recognition for the people he’s served.”