This past year, I have had the pleasure of chairing the committee that organized the celebration of the 175th anniversary of the founding of the town of Easton. I won’t recite the history of the town here, but I encourage residents to learn about how Easton came to be. Basic information is available on the town website and more detailed information is contained in the Easton Directory published by the Easton Senior Center.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all the people who served with me on the Easton 175 Committee. They are an amazing group of people. I am deeply indebted to them and so are the people of our community. You deserve to know who these incredible people are so you can thank them yourself.
In the fall of 2019, First Selectman David Bindelglass and I realized that this milestone anniversary would take place in August 2020. We briefly discussed the idea of an Easton Day celebration sometime that summer or fall. Well, let’s just say, stuff intervened! As February moved into March 2020, and it was time to organize a group to plan an all-day community-wide event, the pandemic erupted. Obviously, we were going to have to come up with a different concept. And David was very busy.
I reached out to several town and civic leaders and to other creative, dynamic people I knew who I thought might be willing to help. Lynn Zaffino, our wonderful library director, set up a Zoom call to which I invited about 20 people. Then something wonderful happened. Many of the people I had invited contacted me to say they knew someone else might be helpful. And so it began. I drew in some folks from my circle of acquaintances. Nanette DeWester, chair of the Cemetery Committee and the Easton Democratic Town Committee, knew some talented communications folks. Nancy Doniger, the editor of the Easton Courier, knew some media folks. Some said yes, some offered to help where and when they could, others were not able to get involved.
From this outreach, a core group evolved. In addition to the aforementioned Lynn Zaffino, Nanette DeWester, and Nancy Doniger, came Jean Steltz-Puchalski, of the Garden Club and chair of the Agriculture Commission; Michelle Falcone, of the Connecticut Tourism Council; Danielle Alves, our Park and Recreation Commission director; Elizabeth Boyce, of the Historical Society; Karen Brewer, of the Easton Courier; Frank Pagliaro, of the Cemetery Committee; and an absolutely irreplaceable, dynamic and creative woman named Allison Taylor , who designed and managed our website among other things. All of these people are fantastic. They represent some of the very best of what our town has to offer.
In addition, several other people assisted and participated when they could. Vince Caprio, from the Republican Town Committee; the then superintendent of schools, Thomas McMoran; Chester Burley of the Historical Society; Karen Thorsen of the Easton Arts Council; June Logie; Sarah Lehberger; Val Buckley, the Senior Center director; Carolyn Feroleto; Jane Paley; Lisa Farasciano, of the Park and Recreation Department; and Sheila Weaver of the Easton Arts Council.
Other folks joined us as we partnered with their organizations to sponsor specific events. Police Officer Jonathan Arnold, in his role with the Easton EMS worked with us to produce the terrific fireworks display. Jodie Zuccerella and Steve Tramposch of the Aspetuck Ashlar Mason Lodge worked with us to produce the Easton Day picnic at the Masonic Lodge. Debbie Klein, of Citizens for Easton, partnered with us to produce the CFE cookbook. Jeff Klein, who volunteered his outdoor movie equipment.
Together, we took the lemon of the pandemic and made lemonade by developing a year-long series of events and activities in celebration of Easton including a logo design contest, oral history project, drive-in movie night, drive-in game night, cemetery tours of the Gilbertown and Center Street cemeteries, a virtual bike race, a website-based “did you know” Q&A, and other fun activities. The year long celebration ends on June 30.
Thank you to everyone who helped out and to all the townspeople who participated in these events.
Time to start working on the 200th anniversary celebration! Its only 24 years away!