Guiding Star Grange hosting 150th anniversary celebration

  • Guiding Star Grange member Matt Perry hangs the 150th celebration banner on the Grange Hall. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • The Guiding Star Grange’s 150th anniversary celebration on Saturday will feature contra dancing. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 6/13/2023 1:42:26 PM

GREENFIELD — A slew of family-friendly events is slated for Saturday as the state’s oldest Grange celebrates its 150th anniversary.

With an arts and co-op fair, a buffet dinner, dedications to former members and contra dancing, the Guiding Star Grange is opening its doors at 401 Chapman St. to the public to mark 150 years of community-based events and advocacy for farmers and rural communities. Events begin at noon on Saturday, June 17, and will run past 8 p.m.

“We really wanted to celebrate the history and the future of the Grange,” said Dagoberto Driggs, a 10-year member of the organization. “It’s about getting people from different walks of life together to build friendships, to build community.”

The Guiding Star Grange was founded in 1873 and has served as a community organization and advocate for rural affairs since then. Driggs said some of the Grange’s earliest work was addressing railroad monopolies and advocating for better rural mail delivery.

“The Grange has a fascinating and rich history of rural advocacy and community-building,” state Sen. Paul Mark, D-Becket, who is a Grange member in his community, said in a statement. “I look forward to seeing it grow and evolve to serve Franklin County for another 150 years.”

The day starts off with an arts and co-op fair outside the Grange’s building from noon to 4 p.m., with local partners like Green Fields Market, the Western Massachusetts Food Processing Center, The LAVA Center, Looky Here and other organizations setting up tables. Indoor events will also be held at this time, with a presentation on the history of contra dance and the history of the Guiding Star Grange, as well as musical performances from Dusti and Karyn Dufresne and the Franklin County Community Chorus.

At 4 p.m., state Sen. Jo Comerford, D-Northampton, will present a citation on behalf of the Legislature, while Mayor Roxann Wedegartner and Glenn Gibson, president of the Massachusetts State Grange, will deliver remarks.

Following that, a buffet dinner catered by Hillside Catering will start at 6 p.m. Reservations are required and tickets are $10. To reserve a meal, call Ruth Henry at 413-773-7466 or email

The Grange will then dedicate the recently renovated dining hall to longtime member Dick Henry and the main community hall to David Kaynor, a mainstay of the local contra dance community.

To close out the evening, folks can do some contra dancing of their own with a $15 to $20 ticket requested, which serves as a fundraiser for the Grange. The Grange has arranged an all-star team of local contra dance musicians with George Marshall, Becky Tracy, Susan Conger, Peter Seigel, David Cantieni and Ann Percival coming together to supply the music.

“It’s nice to mark these milestone anniversaries to reflect on the momentum and history of this organization,” Driggs said. “It’s really nice to have that continuity back to our ancestors.”

More information about the Guiding Star Grange and its 150th-anniversary celebration can be found on its Facebook page at

Chris Larabee can be reached at or 413-930-4081.


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