NEWINGTON â€“ A parade, a historical tour, a mayorâ€™s ball and a photography competition are all possibilities being considered for the townâ€™s 150th anniversary celebration.
The steering committee charged with organizing and fundraising ahead of the 2021 anniversary year met for the first time the second week of May.
Newington residents still interested in being a part of the efforts are encouraged to attend an upcoming meeting or reach out to Chairwoman Eileen Francolino or Vice Chair Beth Manke Hutvagner. They may be able to get involved with event sub-committees and other activities.
Fundraising is the first order of business.
â€śWe did receive $5,000 from the Town Council to start with, but itâ€™s not going to go very far,â€ť Francolino said. â€śEven to put on a parade â€“ which I think is a must â€“ will cost $10,000 to $12,000. Weâ€™re going to have to raise some serious cash.â€ť
Inspiration is being pulled from other towns that have planned events surrounding their own bi- or tri-centennial anniversaries of incorporation. Bellingham, Mass., for example, is celebrating its 300th anniversary this year and Wallingford is nearing its 350th anniversary in 2020. The town has already planned â€śJubilee Weekâ€ť for July of next year, featuring a parade, an art show, a food festival, a history day and more.
Newington celebrated its 125th in 1996. The previous committee drew inspiration from the centennial celebration, which took place in 1971.
Members sold 1996 calendars showcasing residentsâ€™ artwork and published a history book about the previous 25 years in town to supplement the one published during the centennial.
A walking competition funded improvements and programming at Churchill and Mill Pond parks. One large-scale effort many residents might remember is the planting of 72,000 daffodil bulbs around town. That fall there was a Daffodil Festival. Another evening that year four different dances were held around town.
Newington was part of Wethersfield until 1871, when local families applied to the state General Assembly for incorporation as Newington, meaning â€śnew town in the meadow.â€ť
The committee discussed swirling some of this history into their celebration, such as the pipe staves the town was once known for manufacturing. A 150th Anniversary logo will also be created.
This first meeting was a productive one, as individual members took the lead on different endeavors.
â€śEveryone has something theyâ€™re good at and we need to utilize all our strengths,â€ť Francolino pointed out.
Patty Foley, a regular volunteer with Newington Community Television, said sheâ€™d like to organize a trivia competition featuring all things Newington.
â€śA Newington trivia game would be a great way to start raising awareness and let everyone know weâ€™re here and we have a big party coming up,â€ť Foley explained.
She happens to have a copy of the screenplay written for the townâ€™s centennial, she told fellow members.
â€śItâ€™s hysterical. Weâ€™re thinking of making a play out of the play. Having people reread the parts with a modern twist.â€ť
Members also discussed erecting a long-lost time capsule buried near a former school, hosting a senior citizen prom and even honoring local celebrities buried in Center Cemetery.
Regular meetings will continue every other Thursday. The next is set for Thursday, May 23, at 6:30 p.m. in room L-101 of Newington Town Hall, 131 Cedar St.
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at 860-801-5097 or firstname.lastname@example.org.