Charlestown Seafood Festival kickoff to honor memory of beloved radio host

A file image of the Charlestown Seafood Festival. (WLNE)

CHARLESTOWN, R.I. (WLNE) — The “voice of Westerly” will be honored at the 38th annual Charlestown Seafood Festival.

The three-day festival will be missing Chris DiPaola, who broadcasted live and ran the announcements for nearly 25 years.

DiPaola was the owner of WPLQ. He died suddenly in October at 49 years old.

Rhode Island leaders, including Gov. Dan McKee and Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos, will attend a special ceremony for him at 3 p.m. Friday.

The gates to the festival will open at noon from Friday to Sunday.

Longtime radio host Chris DiPaola suddenly passed away in October 2022. (WLNE file image)

“Chris was larger than life and an incredible asset to our community. I not only had the pleasure of working with him during the festival, but he also sat on the Charlestown Chamber Board of Directors with me for many years, serving as secretary,” said Heather Paliotta, director of the festival and executive director of the Charlestown Chamber of Commerce.

“As a colleague and friend, Chris was always there. So, it’s only fitting that we kick off this year’s festival with a tribute to him,” she said.

Kimberly Poland, owner of Poland Media Group, helped organize the tribute.

“He was a supporter of anything and everything local,” she said. “I have worked with Chris on many events and over the years he became a very dear friend. While he can’t be replaced, Poland Media Group is truly honored to play a role in remembering his incredible legacy.”

Poland said DiPaola also served the community he kept informed and entertained.

He worked on multiple local boards and communities, including the Chamber of Commerce in Westerly and Charlestown, and the Rotary Club.

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