West Newbury Bicentennial Celebration

District Issues / Tuesday, September 11th, 2018

Check out this article by Jennifer Solis of the Newburyport Daily News.

The bicentennial committee has set a fun-filled agenda for the town’s 200th anniversary celebration next year, with events sponsored by the planners as well as local organizations.

Most events take place the week of July 6. But because the town was incorporated on Feb. 18, 1819, the committee is planning a black tie gala at Groveland Fairways on Feb. 23 followed by a birthday party at Pentucket Regional High School on Feb. 24 as a way to kick off the festivities.

Then in July, a week of events is scheduled to honor this town milestone. Opening ceremonies on July 6 will be followed by a pancake breakfast, town photo and community service project.

West Newbury History and Heritage Day on July 7 will include a presentation from GAR Memorial Library and possibly from the Historical Society as well as the premiere screening of “Voices of West Newbury,” a film that captures the essence of the town as seen through the eyes of some of its longtime residents.

“Voices of West Newbury,” a public art project produced by Kevin Bowe of Story-Crafters, was a collaboration among the Pentucket Arts Foundation, the Council on Aging and the town library with support from Haverhill and Pentucket banks. The premiere, held at the Old Town Hall that evening, will include a viewing of the 30-minute film, artistic responses to the film and light refreshments.

Any local artists interested in having their creative response to the film placed on exhibit or performed during the premiere should contact pentucketarts.org to set up a time to view the film. Visual art, music, dance and theatrical responses are all welcome.

An ice cream social and singalong is slated for July 9. A student showcase, titled “What West Newbury Means To Me,” takes place July 10. Then, there is a community bandstand concert and movie night July 11 followed by an old-fashioned country dance July 12. The week long celebration closes with a family field day and fireworks on Pipestave Hill on July 13.

Committee members and other residents traveled as a group to a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park as a trial run for a special West Newbury Day at Fenway Park next summer. The date of the baseball game will be determined once the team sets its 2019 schedule.

In honor of West Newbury’s bicentennial and its own 15th-year anniversary, the nonprofit Pentucket Art Foundation has partnered with officials in Groveland, Merrimac and West Newbury as well as Haverhill Bank to bring a multi-phased, interactive, temporary arts installation to the three Pentucket communities following the bicentennial week next summer.

Led by artists from Tape Art in Rhode Island, residents of every age and artistic ability level — as well as local businesses and organizations such as the COA, Scouts and other groups from the three towns — are invited to participate in the public art event from July 12 through Aug. 3.

The project was made possible through a grant from Essex County Community Foundation’s Creative Communities Initiative. More details should be available in early 2019 at www.pentucketarts.org about this opportunity to build community through the creative process.

In addition to the arts foundation, the public library and the Historical Society, the bicentennial committee is cooperating with organizers of the 2019 Memorial Day parade, the Riding and Driving Club, the Cultural Council and the Garden Club, which are also sponsoring events of their own.

As part of a $140,000 budget approved by voters for the bicentennial, $6,000 was targeted to help offset costs for events held by these other groups and organizations.

Thanks to the efforts of state Rep. Lenny Mirra, R-West Newbury, and state Sen. Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, lawmakers recently approved $25,000 more for the celebration. The committee is actively seeking local sponsors and is working to create a calendar for public distribution of all bicentennial-related events. All residents should also soon be receiving a “save the date” postcard from the committee.

The bicentennial committee is planning a closing ceremony and the burying of a time capsule for next fall.

For more information and ongoing updates, visit the committee’s page on the town website, www.wnewbury.org

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