In 2011, we thought it would be fun to flavor these and other activities with a 250th Anniversary theme — and we hoped to include the widest possible inclusion of ideas. Some of the things we considered:
- An old-fashioned firefighters’ muster, representing departments from many towns? (Hey, we could invite folks from towns listed on the signpost on the Common — at least from the towns that still exist!)
- “Then and Now” photo exhibits? (Do you have historic photos of your house or property that you’re willing to share? Let us know!)
- Nature and history hikes?
- A talent show?
- An original musical?
- Lighthearted softball games between different communities in town (such as the AC vs. Friends of the Library)?
- Lectures or other presentations on local history, flora and fauna, and lots more?
- A town barbecue?
- A “cemetery walk” (where some interesting residents of the past could come to life by their graves)?
And we would have loved to borrow yet another page from the past: to gather everyone in town for a “family photo,” just as our counterparts did at anniversary celebrations gone by.
Our goal was to celebrate all year long, with nature-oriented, historical and art/cultural activities every month. Our focus is to celebrate not just Shutesbury as a whole, but to recognize and nourish the diversity and talents of the many vibrant, smaller communities within our town.
We’re fortunate that quite a number of social events already exist throughout the year, thanks to some of those communities. For example, when we began making plans in 2009, we already knew about these annual traditions:
- January’s Christmas Tree Bonfire, hosted by our Volunteer Fire Department
- February’s Fire Department Pancake Breakfast
- The spring Spaghetti Supper and Silent Auction at the Shutesbury Elementary School
- The Saturday Farmer’s Market behind Town Hall, May - October
- June’s Roadside Swap Week and Bulky Waste Day, the Lake Wyola Association’s Road Race, and the kickoff of the M. N. Spear Library’s Summer Reading Program
- July’s Independence Day events at Lake Wyola, and the Fire Department’s Bonfire
- August’s Summer Reading Party at the library, with entertainment for all ages
- September’s Celebrate Shutesbury, with bicycle parades, antique car shows and more
- October’s open houses by the Historical Commission at Old Town Hall and West School, Halloween’s cider and donuts at the Fire Station, and of course the awesome decorations put up by many generous Town Center residents to delight Trick-or-Treaters
- December’s Arts & Crafts Marketplace at the elementary school.
Events of 2011:
- Janury 8: Kickoff Bonfire behind Fire Station
- January 15: M. N. Spear Library Community-wide Read of Nathaniel Philbrick’s The Mayflower began
- January 16: Formal Winter Ball at Shutesbury Athletic Club
- February 5: Firefighters’ Pancake Breakfast at Shutesbury Elementary School
- February 18: Grand opening of photo exhibit of Shutesbury then and now, Shutesbury Athletic Club (282 Wendell Road)
- February 19: "After the Mayflower," a screening of Episode 1 of the PBS series, "We Shall Remain," Town Hall (by M. N. Spear Library)
- March 4: "From Kwineticook to Quabbin: Native People in West-Central Massachusetts," a presentation by Marge Bruchac, Native American historian and traditional storyteller, Town Hall. Co-sponsored by the Shutesbury 250th Anniversary Steering Committee and the Friends of the Library.
- March 10: Leonard Richards, author of Shays's Rebellion: The American Revolution's Final Battle
- March 18: Supper with New England dishes from 18th century to 21st, a benefit by and for the People of the Past working group, Shutesbury Athletic Club (282 Wendell Road)
- March 28: Book Discussion of Nathaniel Philbrick's The Mayflower, with Neal Salisbury, Professor Emeritus at Smith College, Town Hall (by M. N. Spear Library)
- April 2, 7:00 p.m.: Benefit Concert by One Journey for M. N. Spear Library, at Shutesbury Elementary School
- April 4, 7:00 p.m.: Four Season Food Production with Farmer Daniel Botkin of Laughing Dog Farm, at Town Hall (Sponsored by the M. N. Spear Library)
- April 23, 7:30 p.m.: Benefit Concert by Tracy Grammer for 250th Anniversary Steering Committee, plus Dessert O Rama, Wendell Full Moon Coffee House
- April 29: PTO's Spaghetti Supper and Silent Auction, Shutesbury Elementary School
- April 30, 9:00 a.m. at the Fire Station: A demonstration on chain saw and wood cutting safety by Tree Warden Tom Houston
- May 7: Special anniversary presentations by our state Senator and Representative at Annual Town Meeting, and a celebration of our library’s 200th year with a big birthday cake! Surprise appearances by some People of the Past.
- June 11, 3:00 p.m.: 250th Anniversary Parade, from elementary school to town common along Leverett Road. For more information, click here (this is a 230 KB .pdf file).
- June 11, after the parade: Festivities at Shutesbury Athletic Club! 5:30 p.m. barbecue; 7:00 - 10:00 p.m., performances by the Shutesbury Elementary School jazz band and Briefcase Full of Blues (the only Blues Brothers Tribute Band in the northeast).
- June 18: Lake Wyola Association Road Race.
- June 19: Father’s Day Pancake Breakfast by Lake Wyola Association.
- June 26: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.: Self-guided Farm & Garden Tour. See the
Farm & Garden Tour Flier here. (This is a 235 KB .pdf file.)
- July 16: Art Show and Boat Tours by Lake Wyola Association.
- July 20: Community Picnic at Lake Wyola State Park, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m., sponsored by the Friends of the MN Spear Library and 250th anniversary Steering Committee.
- September 3, 10:30 a.m. - Noon: Children's Colonial Picnic and Games with staff from Old Deerfield, behind Town Hall.
- September 10, 7:00 p.m. - Midnight: 250th Moonlight Beach Ball, sponsored by the Shutesbury Board of Selectmen at Lake Wyola Park State Beach.
- September 11, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.: Self-guided Farm & Garden Tour.
- September 24: Celebrate Shutesbury, sponsored by the Shutesbury Education Foundation on the Common.
- Through the fall and winter: Exhibits of photos of Shutesbury past and present, mounted at M. N. Spear Library by Maili Page.
- October 8, 1:00 p.m: Tree Talk and Tour by Tree Warden Tom Houston, starting downstairs in Town Hall.
- October 23, 3:00 -5:00 p.m.: History Walk at Leverett Road Cemetery by the People of the Past working group.
- November 9: 7:00 p.m.: Talk and slide show at Town Hall by author J. R. Greene on the "lost towns" of the Quabbin. Unlike their neighbors, Shutesbury residents did not lose their town to the creation of the massive reservoir. Many, however, were forced to give up their homes and valuable farmland. Maps and photos of these lost treasures will also be on display. This presentation is sponsored by the 250th Anniversary Steering Committee.
- December 20, 1:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.: "Roadtown Review: A Shutesbury Sampler," presented by Shutesbury Elementary School in the school gym. An original musical celebrating 250 years of dance, parades, poetry, animals, inserts, the four seasons, history, and fireworks!