Person of the Week
Volunteers Like Adam Riso Drive Clinton SummerFest
When the annual Clinton Insurance Center Summerfest and Fireworks kick off on Saturday, Aug. 28, it’ll be thanks in part to volunteers like Adam Riso who stepped up to keep the Chamber of Commerce event moving forward. (Photo courtesy of Adam Riso)
On Saturday, Aug. 28, downtown Clinton will be the site of a major celebration as the town holds its annual Clinton Insurance Center Summerfest and Fireworks event. In attendance will be one of the people responsible for planning and pulling off the festivities: Adam Riso.
SummerFest is an annual, town-wide celebration held at the end of summer that culminates with an impressive fireworks display.
“It’s the best fireworks in the state, I say,” says Adam.
The Clinton Insurance Center Summerfest and Fireworks is organized by the Clinton Chamber of Commerce and Adam is a member of the subcommittee that helps organize the event each year.
Adam’s involvement with the event, ironically, began with a canceled SummerFest. The first Summerfest was held in 2016 to much acclaim, but the chamber had to cancel the 2017 event due to a lack of funding and manpower, which upset the townspeople, including Adam.
“We went to the first one and had a great time, and then the next year they didn’t run it and I was like ‘What the...?’ so I called the chamber and they said they didn’t have enough volunteers so I said, ‘Well that’s a dumb reason. I’ll volunteer!”
Ever since, Adam has been a part of organizing and running the SummerFest. The event is an almost all-day affair with events in two different locations: Town Hall and the Town Beach.
Both will open at 4 p.m. and will feature food trucks, live bands, and kid-friendly activities. A beer garden will be set up behind Town Hall as well as a dunk tank and tables from different civic groups. The bands will be providing music at both locations until 8 p.m. when the Town Hall festivities will end. The fireworks show will start around 9 p.m.
Pulling off the event is no small feat and requires sorting out a multitude of details.
“We start really going around late winter early spring is when we really start getting together. It’s about six months of planning,” says Adam.
“The big thing we need to sort out is donations, since the event is paid for by donations from the community,” Adam explains.
The committee must then also manages vendors, entertainment, permits, and any new wrinkles that occur.
“Last time, we had some complaints about the number of food trucks at the beach location, so we’re planning on having more there this year,” Adam says.
In 2020 due to the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the event had to be canceled, which was difficult for Adam, even if he knew it was the sensible move to make.
“I knew it was the right call, but I was still disappointed,” Adam admits.
The SummerFest is entirely outdoors and, as of right now, Adam says the organizers isn’t planning a mask mandate or other measures related to the ongoing pandemic. However, Adam cautions that with two weeks until the event is set to be held and, with cases starting to rise again, things can change.
“If any mandates or things like that come down, we will comply,” Adam says.
Updates related to the event can be found on the Facebook page “Clinton Insurance Center Summerfest and Fireworks”.
For work, Adam is a physician’s assistant (P.A.) for a neurosurgery center. He splits his time between an office and a hospital.
“I’ve been a P.A. for 15 years,” Adam proudly notes.
Adam says he initially began his undergrad studying computer science but eventually ended up in health care and has enjoyed his career.
“You’re pretty much learning every day. I like the treatment of brain conditions because it’s so intricate of and interesting,” says Adam.
Adam originally grew up in Orange and has lived in Clinton for the last five.
“We moved from Maryland back to Connecticut and looked on the shoreline and found Clinton,” Adam explains.
One thing that Adam appreciates about Clinton is the small-town vibes.
“My favorite thing is the small, community feel. We have some really good friends right in town,” says Adam. “It’s not a metropolis and we like that small-town feel.”
In his spare time, you can find Adam enjoying the water or working on some improvements to keep busy.
“I like the water, boating, I even built a boat. I also whittle and do projects around the home,” says Adam.