On January 8, 2020 The Barre Rotary Club presented a donation check to The Aldrich Public Library for $15,369.15 from the proceeds from The Club annual breakfast on the library lawn.
Total donations over the years to the library now exceed $296,369.15. This was the 36th breakfast on the library lawn and the 45th breakfast overall.
Barre Rotary Breakfast History-1968-2019
In the beginning, the idea of holding an outdoor breakfast began in the late ‘60s. The first breakfast was held at Barre City Park with one small grill that belonged to Roy Turner. It rained that day and the breakfast was moved into the Universal Church basement. From then on the breakfast was held at different locations such as in front of The Elks Lodge on Jefferson Street, to an empty lot on Merchant Street where the Court House now is, then to the Metro Parking lot by the train station.
In 1983, Dick Parnigoni made a deal with Ernie Drown, the librarian at The Aldrich Library, that if The Rotary Club could use the front lawn we would donate the profits to the library. At all of our previous locations we always had a problem getting enough electric power to run our toasters. This problem was somewhat solved when we started to tie into the main panel of the library. We needed a 50 amp circuit. At that time the library added the new addition and the contractor put a special outdoor, 50 amp electrical box just for the Rotary Breakfast. Now, we use power from The Library and we also have an electrical box and cable coming out of the Barre Housing building next door (the old Hotel Barre). These electrical connections were made possible by Floyd LeRoy and Peter Gagne.
For a few years the National Guard provided us the usage of their field outdoor cookers. The Guard would arrive at 5:30 a.m. on the Saturday, set up the grills and then take them down after the breakfast. When we could no longer use the National Guard grills we acquired used grills from Soups & Greens Restaurant, The Legion, Bob Bergeron, Jockey Hollow Restaurant and a couple of burners from the Masonic Temple. Then we bought a new grill. All heavy grills were put into metal frames and wheels were attached.
Now the Rotary Breakfast has turned into big business, with the addition of tent coverage, plastic table clothes on the forty plus tables, paper placemats and two serving lines with heated food containers. The Breakfast serves between 1,200 to 1,400 people each year, with the record 1500+ served during the bi-centennial. We use the help of 50 people, mostly friends and family of the Rotarians. The Boy Scouts help out with setting up and taking down the tables and chairs which all come from the Barre Auditorium.
The Rotary Breakfast is now served on the last Saturday of July and has been on the library lawn for 36 years – a pretty good record. For the past few years the breakfast has been chaired by Rotarian Ron Parnigoni and prior to that by his brother, past Rotarian Dick Parnigoni. Current Club President, Ed Rousse now chairs the breakfast.