Current Freedom Fest President Matthew Stein said he read the email with a “heavy heart.”

Dennis Dal Poggetto, left, accepts the 2014 ‘Man of the Year’ award from then Chamber Chairman Rich Firato. Photo by Marty Cheek

By Robert Airoldi

Robert Airoldi

We knew it was eventually going to happen. And it is bittersweet. Dennis Dal Poggetto, who has chaired the July 3 Street Dance for Freedom Fest for nearly three decades , is retiring from his volunteer role with the nonprofit organization that puts on the Fourth of July events.

“After much thought and careful reflection, I have decided to retire from the 4th of July committee, after 27 years as The Family Music ‘Street Dance’ chairman, effective Jan. 1, 2023,” he said in an email. “I would like to thank everyone I’ve worked with over the years who have made this event so very special to the community. It has been a very rewarding event every year. At this time in my life, it’s time for me to find smaller challenges and time for myself and my family.”

Current Freedom Fest President Matthew Stein said he read the email with a “heavy heart.”

“For more years than most of us have been alive (OK, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, maybe just me) you have assembled food, music, and our community to help kick off our celebration each year,” he said. “This community and this event is better off having had you in its leadership. We thank you.”

Dennis promised to be available if needed to the person who takes over and has decades of notes and procedures he will pass on.

“Travel is in my future and lots of it,” he said.

Dennis, the community owes you its gratitude for your dedication to Morgan Hill and all the work you’ve done so residents can enjoy a fun street dance. Best of luck in the future, my friend.

The Morgan Hill chapter of the American Association of University Women has awarded $7,000 in Community Action Grants for 2022-2023 to nine South Valley nonprofit organizations.

Funds for the grants come from the annual Wildflower Run, held in March, and are given to nonprofit groups for projects that are in alignment with AAUW’s mission to promote equity for girls and women.

Grants this year were made to: Senior Advisory Committee at the Morgan Hill Senior Center, for its upcoming Community, Family and Senior Health and Wellness Fair; BookSmart Community Advantage, for the Gift of Reading; Morgan Hill Historical Society, for living history field trips to Villa Mira Monte; San Martin/Gwinn School, to purchase Spanish-language books for the school library; P.A. Walsh STEAM Elementary School, for its Mini Mermaids Running Club; Boys & Girls Clubs of Silicon Valley, for its TechBridge Girls program at the El Toro Morgan Hill Clubhouse; Jackson Academy of Math and Music, to refresh its campus library books collection; Poppy Jasper International Film Festival, in support of Women’s Day; and South Valley Civic Theatre, for its “Matilda the Musical” community outreach project.

Applications for the 2023-2024 year will open in spring 2023. For more information, visit

The Morgan Hill Raiders Jr. Varsity and Jr. Pee Wee teams have qualified for the JAMZ Youth Nationals Cheer competition after both receiving 2nd place in their respective divisions. It will take place Jan. 20-21, and they will be facing fierce competition from around the country. Both teams have had a successful season, consistently winning the top two spots in the Bay Area as well as the Pacific Northwest Region. Congratulations to all involved.

We got word from Jeff Dixon, who runs the SV5 NFL Flag Football League, that registration is now open for winter. The co-ed league is for those 4 to 14 and now includes a girls-only league. Games are Sunday afternoons with no midweek practice. League runs from Jan. 8 to March 12. Visit to register.

Some of the guns turned in at the recent gun buyback event held Dec. 10 at Morgan Hill’s Outdoor Sports Center.
Photo courtesy MHPD

Despite the wind and rain Dec. 10, the gun buyback event was a big success.

The event collected 286 guns, spending $30,100. Organizers thanked the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, Community Law Enforcement Foundation, Santa Clara County Health Department and the Gilroy and Morgan Hill police departments. Let’s hope the event helped save lives.