Planning a party worthy of a 375th anniversary requires more than a couple of phone calls and an order for balloons.
It requires more than two years of brainstorming, fundraising, negotiating and organization to pull off a yearlong celebration designed to entertain and educate a town of 13,000 people.
In 2013, Wayland will celebrate its 375th anniversary, and the 375th Anniversary Commemoration Committee is already hard at work making sure the celebration is a success.
At Monday night’s committee meeting, the team spent much of the evening hearing from Allison Tobia and Deborah Seidman who are working specifically on a kid-friendly, family fun day that will serve as the extravaganza of the yearlong anniversary celebration.
From their initial brainstorming session three elements emerged: A working colonial village featuring historical demonstrations and an opportunity to look back at the different eras of Wayland’s history; a carnival complete with rides, historical children’s games and a historic circus feel; and a main stage area for 4H-style competition, tastings of period foods, music, speeches and more.
“I think this is really great,” said Mary Antes, the committee’s chair. “I’m sure that there will be iterations over time, but we’re pretty unified in saying you’re off on a really good track.”
The family fun day would be the culminating event, likely on one of the first weekends in June 2014, of a celebration that would have kicked off in June 2013.
For the colonial village, Seidman said they were envisioning asking some local groups to build a couple of one-room structures and recruiting local families to volunteer to perform period tasks, such as quilting or candle-making, and serve as tour guides in those structures.
Jane Sciacca recommended setting up a meetinghouse rather than a traditional home.
“That’s a very simple structure that was fundamental to the town,” Sciacca said. “It was the public place where meetings would be held and everything. It was the center of town activity.”
Committee member Peter Gossels suggested asking students at Minuteman Career and Technical School to build the structures, which would give them a chance to be involved in the project and the town’s celebration.
The structures would ideally, Seidman said, be one of the permanent features the committee hopes to install as part of the celebration.
Other suggestions for permanent features include a trail book that would focus on Wayland’s conservation trails and could be stamped upon completing a walk of the trails; interpretive signs to educate readers about Wayland’s history; historical walking or biking trails; and a railroad artifact museum among other things.
The plans for the family fun day also include a parade and possibly fireworks, though Antes mentioned that there is some concern fireworks damage the water system so a light or laser show could be a better option.
With the kickoff of the celebration in June 2013, the committee is looking to host a variety of events – musical, theatrical, literary and more – throughout the year building to the culminating event in June 2014.
The particulars of the celebration remain in the infant stages, but the committee wants to begin heavily recruiting other committees and groups in Wayland to commit to helping with specific elements of the celebration.
The committee is scheduled to meet next on Sept. 14, and the second Wednesday of each month thereafter.
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