If you haven’t been to the Levitt Pavilion this year, or over the past few years*, then you don’t know Joey Bairaktaris.
But everyone else does.
He’s the Levitt’s site supervisor.
That’s his job title, anyway. He’s really much more than that.
Joey — a 2016 Staples High School graduate — is the public face of the pavilion. He’s everywhere, at every show.
He makes sure guests are happy, gently enforcing rules for a few for the enjoyment of all. He makes sure the performers have what they need.
He answers questions. He solves problems before they occur. He empties trash cans (and picks up whatever stray garbage the rest of us leave behind).
And he does it all with a wonderful, winning smile.
Susan Leone nominated Joey as an “Unsung Hero.” She asked him about his job. He told her he came to Westport in 8th grade from Redding. Switching schools at mid-year was not easy. But it made him work hard to keep busy, and not think about how tough things had been.
Joey started at the Levitt 7 years ago, after working at Compo Beach and the Westport Weston Family YMCA.
He went to Johnson & Wales University, majoring in criminal justice and psychology. In the summer he’d work for Westport Parks & Rec during the day, then the Levitt every night.
He’s also working for the New England Patriots, doing security, and is in the process of applying to police departments. “All my work and schooling go together, with being around people,” Joey notes.
He says: “The best part about working at the Levitt is the people I meet. I get to interact and talk with people from all over. Everyone has endless stories and knowledge from their lives and careers. Face to face talking is lost these days with technology, so it’s great to get to actually talk to people.”
He’s not kidding about his ability to talk to people. When the Peterson Brothers band came from Austin, Texas, they gave him their contact info, so he could stay with them there.
“There’s kindness everywhere,” Joey says. “It just takes all of us to bring it out.”
Joey spreads credit around. “The Levitt Pavilion is an extraordinary venue, but it wouldn’t be possible without everyone who is behind the magic. I’m a small seasonal part. The base of the Levitt is the board members and the Welshes. They make everything happen, with 365 days a year planning, organizing and so much more.”
He downplays his own role. “There’s not really anything special about me. I’m just a Westporter who loves to keep busy, try new things, and meet new people. Everyone has been so amazing. You can’t find a place like this anywhere. The community really does come first here.”
Joey Bairaktaris is — very deservedly — this week’s Unsung Hero. And he is — every week — Mr. Levitt Pavilion.
*And why not? It’s the best free entertainment in town!
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