Thanks for the Memories

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This story was supposed to be about saying thank you to the people who made our town’s anniversary a success, but how do you thank hundreds of people in 600 words? Instead, here are some highlights from our two-year long celebration.

October 2019 – The 102nd Army Band performance at Suffield High was the official kick-off for our year of celebration. Many thanks to the Music on High performing arts series for bringing this talented group to Suffield.

November 2019 – More than 200 guests joined us for our BrewFest350 at the New England Air Museum on November 11, 2019. Caroline d’Otreppe worked her impressive rolodex to bring together local “brews”, food, flowers and entertainment for this very popular event.

December 2019 – We orgnaized a Holiday Tree Gala in the Phelps-Hatheway House barn. Visitors came out in 12-degree weather to enjoy the magical display. Thanks to the Suffield Garden Club and to CT Landmarks for letting us use their amazing (and unheated) barn.

February 2020 – We enjoyed a Suffield Agriscience exhibit at the CT Flower & Garden Show that showcased our 350th celebration in a rose garden.

March 2020 – We were back to the Phelps-Hatheway House for Maple on Main, a community maple syrup boil. Many thanks to Ron Fenoff who did the boil, and to agriscience student Ashton Fenoff who created an info board and answered questions.

April 2020 – This was a watershed moment for the 350th committee. We began discussing how COVID-19 could affect our plans for big weekend events we had been planning for October 9-12, 2020. By June we were making parallel plans for in-person and virtual events.

October 2020 – The highlight of our town’s “virtual” birthday celebration was the first annual Field of Flags display, organized by Suffield Garden Club members Jean Matejek and Susan Mayne. 350 flags flew over our town green between October 9 and November 11.

We celebrated with a virtual commemoration of the 1670 founding of Suffield, featuring the first showing of Our Town, The Story of Suffield, Connecticut. Caroline d’Otreppe recruited award-winning film producer and Suffield native Paul Sanderson for the film project. The commemoration video also included the Suffield song, A Town with Heart, composed and performed by troubadour Lou Sorrentino, with background slides of Ellie the Birthday Cow visiting town landmarks, thanks to Norm Noble, wrangler extraordinaire.

Our community also enjoyed an outdoor decorating contest, a 32-mile car parade through both Suffield and West Suffield, a fireworks show and a virtual commemoration broadcast featuring the first showing of Our Town: The Story of Suffield, Connecticut.

The Suffield Observer dedicated a an eight-page section of the October issue of the paper, featuring the 350th birthday celebration!

May 2021 – Suffield’s summer began with the grand opening of the Suffield Barn Quilt Trail. Local artist Christine MacClintic originally proposed a public art project like Giddy Up to Granby. Christine and local artist Laurie Tavino recruited artists and hosts for the 38 beautiful barn quilts.

May also brought the “Visions of Suffield” art exhibit to the visitors’ center at the Phelps-Hatheway House. Many thanks to the 18 local artists who shared their 30 visions with us.

October 2021 – October began with a display of previously unshown Suffield photos in the Pinney Gallery at the Suffield Kent Memorial Library. The show was organized by the Suffield Historical Society with assistance from the Suffield Arts Council .

This year we finally got our BIG PARADE, thanks to parade co-chairs Pete Hill and Melissa Finnigan. Almost 70 groups participated in the parade, which ended with a Block Party and vintage tractor display at Suffield Middle School that included kids’ games organized by the SMS student council. The night ended with fireworks over Bruce Park.

Our big weekend culminated in a Film Premier Party and book signing event in the Commons at Suffield High School. The Our Town film finally got its premier showing, and there was a premier too for Suffield Stories for Another Half-Century, 1970-2020. Committee volunteer Beth Chafetz worked for 3 years to make the book a reality! Copies of Our Town and Suffield Stories are on sale at the Suffield Town Clerk’s office.

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