375th Town Anniversary Celebrations Underway
By Gregory T. Federspiel
The Town’s rich history and pride of place are on full display this year as we celebrate the 375th anniversary of the establishment of Manchester as an official town of the Commonwealth. Thanks to the hard work of the 375th Celebration Committee, each month will bring new events and a reason to gather together as a community.
Committee Co-Chairs Sue Torne and Tom Kehoe, no strangers to making things happen in town, have been working with a team of some 25 residents – even more when you count subcommittee members - to coordinate a series of events throughout the year. Staff support, especially from Executive Assistant Sonja Nathan and Parks and Recreation Director Cheryl Marshall, has provided valuable assistance to the committee.
The first two events drew good crowds. Over 300 people attended the bonfire to kick things off (albeit after a couple of weather induced delays!) and some 175 people attended the Family Fun Day held at the American Legion Hall this past Sunday. Next week there are events planned at the Library (create your unique Manchester based story) and at the Sacred Heart Parish Hall, where a special presentation will be given on Native American life in the area sponsored by the Manchester Historical Museum. Complete event details can be found on the Town’s web site: www.manchester.ma.us.
The 375th celebrations have been a community wide affair from the start. In addition to the work of the Committee, the logo design was an effort that Erika Brown and video/graphic design teacher Caroline Epp initiated with her high school honor students. The selected logo, designed by than freshman Isabel Lundstrom, graces the mugs and shirts that are available for purchase as well as event posters. The nautical themed logo has been a hit from the start.
Contributions in time and in cash continue to come in. Sales of the heirloom quality anniversary puzzle have been steady. Ticket sales for the Gala planned for March 7th at the Essex County Club are progressing nicely (available at Town Hall.) Cash donations, which are off to a good start, will allow most events to be low cost or free. Donations are greatly appreciated to supplement the town funds voters approved at last year’s Town Meeting for this special anniversary year.
Celebrating community along with our unique history and place is a vital part of making our town a special place. Indeed, it is an important part of building the social capital that enables us to come together to tackle the challenges of the day, whether it be investing in our infrastructure that serves residents daily or how best to manage future growth that respects our town character while providing a tax base that funds our needs. When residents can interact with each other during fun events, common bonds are formed that make it easier to gather for more serious work like debating and voting on budgets and other important town decisions at a Town Meeting.
So venture forth, have some fun at any number of anniversary events, get to know your fellow residents and appreciate the many wonderful aspects of our small corner of the world.