By Andreas Yilma, Staff Writer
NAUGATUCK — An event planned for Saturday at the Naugatuck Portuguese Club is about more than having a good time, it’s part of an effort to save the club.
The club owes $219,452 in back taxes, according to Tax Collector James Goggin. The club has an additional tax payment of $16,253 due in January, he said.
A Save the Club fundraiser is set for Saturday from 12 to 8 p.m. at the club, 110 Rubber Ave., that will feature a host of activities. The event will include a car show from 12 to 3 p.m., folklore dancing at 3:30 p.m., a “celebrity” chef competition, pumpkin decorating, outdoor bowling and corn hole. There will also be traditional Portuguese food available.
Rubber Avenue between Meadow Street and Pond Street will be closed for the event. The rain date is Sunday.
Organizers of the event will also have 2,000 raffle tickets for sale for a Polaris Sportsman 450 Quad with snow plow kit and winch, or a Louis Vuitton purse. The raffle will be drawn on Nov. 30.
Club President Roldao Carvalho said he worked with Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess to organize the event.
“The Portuguese Club is part of our heritage, culture and what Naugatuck is all about,” Hess said.
The event is one of several fundraising events the club has hosted recently. The club raised $25,500 from a golf tournament and the Sao Paio Feast, Carvalho said.
“I’m confident they’ll have a payment plan and have this thing worked out by the end of the year,” said Goggin about the back taxes.
Carvalho said the club is taking other steps to pay off its debt. He said the club is now open for anyone to join. In the past, people could only become members through an invitation of a standing member. Hess and Goggin recently become members, Carvalho said.
“I want all citizens to recognize the importance of maintaining all of our traditions and carrying on going forward,” Hess said. “We need more young people getting involved in all organizations.”
Carvalho said the club also plans to rent out space in the building to a local business. He said he’s appealed to the club’s 685 members to step up, as well.
As the club continues its effort to keep the doors open, Carvalho said he’s grateful for the support of the community.
“I believe this club means a lot. To have the town involved to help us, it shows me the town appreciates our business in the town and they like to preserve the culture of the Portuguese heritage in Naugatuck,” Carvalho said.