Whately committee delays town’s 250th anniversary festivities to 2022

  • The Whately 250th Anniversary Committee hung a light display on the Quonquont Farm milk bottle for the holiday months, but the display will soon be moved to a new home. Residents and businesses are welcome to host it in celebration of the town’s 250th anniversary. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 1/15/2021 3:45:42 PM

WHATELY — After months of weighing their options amid the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the organizing committee for Whately’s 250th anniversary have officially decided the week-long celebratory event is not in the cards for this year.

Following the advice of the Board of Health, the Whately 250th Anniversary Committee voted on Monday evening to postpone to 2022 the events they had hoped to schedule for September of this year.

“We just don’t feel that for the group gatherings, that that is going to be safe to do,” said Susan Baron, co-chair of the committee. “We’re now saying that most of the events will take place in 2022.”

That is, all celebratory events will be pushed to 2022, with the exception of something — yet to be determined — to take place on the town’s incorporation day on April 26.

“Obviously we can’t do a group thing, but we’re exploring whether there is something we could do that would commemorate the date without putting people at risk,” Baron said. “I don’t have an answer on what that’s going to look like.”

She said the committee didn’t necessarily like the idea of spreading the events out over the two calendars.

“If we can keep everyone safe in 2022, and have the celebration that we want to, that’s what we want to do,” she said.

In a previous interview, Baron said that of the four key events — fireworks, a parade, a gala and family day — the gala and family day were likely to be pushed to 2022.

At the time, 250th Anniversary Committee members felt the other events could potentially be held outdoors with social distancing.

“Our top goal is to keep everyone safe,” she had said.

Despite the pandemic’s impact on the decision to delay the 2021 celebration that would have taken place this summer or fall, the committee is finding other ways to keep the spirit of the 250th anniversary alive — through social media campaigns on Facebook and Instagram, selling face masks with the committee’s logo (designed by members Allison Bell and Melissa Caldwell), and hanging a light display on the Quonquont Farm milk bottle. The display was placed there for the holiday months, but will soon be moved to a new home.

“We’re going to be reaching out to local businesses to see if they want to display it,” Baron said. “Putting it on buildings, just having fun with it and getting it around town.”

Residents are also welcome to host the light display.

“We’re trying to generate excitement, and to drive traffic to the Facebook and Instagram pages,” Baron said.

All of these efforts, she said, are to let people know that the 250th anniversary hasn’t been forgotten.

Baron said it’s “almost relieving” to have come to a decision about celebrating the 250th anniversary.

“For months, we’ve been in a limbo of, ‘Can we do this this year?’” she said. “We want to have the celebration we want to have, and we’d rather delay it and do it right.”

Reach Mary Byrne at 413-772-0261, ext. 263 or mbyrne@recorder.com. Twitter: @MaryEByrne

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