Dorchester Day season has officially begun and the race is on for the coveted title of Mayor of Dorchester. Three candidates will battle it out this year for a prime spot in the June 1 parade and other to-be-determined duties.
"You can have as much fun with it as you want," said mayoral hopeful Ryan Woods, noting that past mayors have issued nearly official proclamations, awards and citations around the neighborhood. As the contest ensues, the now friendly combatants may show their competitive sides, but it's all in good fun, they say, and for a good cause: the money raised will help cover the more than $40,000 tab for next year's parade.
Gloria-Ann Vieira, a lifelong Dorchester resident, is the first mayoral candidate to come from Uphams Corner. As a kid, she remembers going to the parade with her family every year.
"Even now as an adult," she said, "the first Sunday of June, I always know what I'm doing."
Vieira says her candidacy will be an opportunity to bridge the gap that she sees between Uphams Corner residents and the rest of Dorchester.
"It's a nice way to expose people from Uphams Corner to the parade and the rest of Dorchester to Uphams Corner," she said.
Typically active around the community through the Annapolis Neighborhood Street Association, the C-11 Advisory Board and Uphams Corner Safe Neighborhood Initiative, Vieira has been out of commission since September when she was hit by a car in Quincy and broke both of her legs. She looks forward to getting back to her normal schedule once she's off her crutches, but for now the mayor's race is a "nice way to still be involved," Vieira said. It's also a "pretty cool title," she said.
One of Vieira's opponent, 24-year-old Ryan Woods, is also her former CCD student from St. William's. As the competition heats up, Vieira said she's been reminding Woods to "mind his elders." Woods works for Boston's Parks and Recreation Department, building partnerships with community groups throughout the city. A Savin Hill native, he's gotten to know everyone in the community working at CF Donovan's and with the Savin Hill Baseball League.
Woods said the Dot Day parade was an important part of growing up in Dorchester so when he had the chance to throw his hat into this year's race he was thrilled.
"It's great to raise money for the parade and make sure it stays alive," he said.
The third candidate, PJ Trapani of Cedar Grove was out of town this week, but stay posted for more information about his campaign and schedule of events.