Even though some organizations have been known to exaggerate claims when promoting an upcoming event, Director of Communications, Nancy Grandin is right on the money when she said the organization’s Oct. 15 Centennial Celebration will be a “once in a hundred years kind of event.”
In honor of its 100th year, the historical society is inviting the public to attend a birthday bonanza jam-packed with historic skits, demonstrations, an array of food and a seemingly endless range of activities for visitors of every age.
The festivities will begin at 11 a.m. with the deafening blast of 3-pound naval deck gun. Revolutionary war re-enactor Mark Brady will fire the cannon at the top of the hour throughout the day and in between firings, he will teach attendees about other antique firearms. Brady will also hold a tomahawk throwing demonstration.
Although there’s no specific centerpiece of the day’s events, according to Grandin, the First Annual Simsbury Chili Cook-Off is sure to be a crowd favorite. For $5, visitors can purchase a spoon in order to taste and judge a variety of chilies from local restaurants. The cook-off will take place from 12 to 2 p.m.
Visitors to the Centennial Celebration will have the opportunity to take a step back in time and see what a town meeting was like in colonial Simsbury. Actors will take part in a series of skits discussing a range of issues pertinent to the townsfolk of the Simsbury of yore. Visitors are encouraged to participate in the debate.
“Even if you’re late to the celebration, there’s no reason to worry,” Grandin said. “Nearly all of the events are going to reoccur throughout the day, so you can take your time at each one, or even see one of them again if you want to.”
For the occasion, Simsbury artist Pam Albertsen has created a drawing of the famed Pinchot sycamore (the tallest tree in the state, named after the first chief of the United States Forest Service, Simsbury native, Gifford Pinchot). Visitors are invited to dip their thumbs in ink, pick a bare branch and place a leaf on the tree.
No birthday party would be complete without cake and ice cream, so several local bakeries including Cupcakes, , , and Stop & Shop donated cakes and Store in West Simsbury donated ice cream for the event. Both the cake and ice cream will be free.
Birthday cake won’t be the only confection on hand either. Organizers have invited local churches and synagogues to enter their best chefs in a juried bake-off competition. Two versions of each confection will be made; one for the judges and one which will be available for purchase.
Vendors selling food and crafts, musicians, kids games, face painting and demonstrations on hobbies like herb gardening and weaving will be scattered throughout the historical society’s campus. A campus that Ieke Scully, vice president of the historical society’s board of directors, said, they are lucky to have.
“We’ve been very fortunate to have a number of very generous benefactors in our past,” Scully said. “Whereas most historical society’s just have one building, we have nine here, so it’s a bit more like Sturbridge Village or Colonial Williamsburg than your average historical society.”
From, a demonstration on how reading and writing were taught in the 17th and 18th centuries, to an appearance of the famed Simsbury Witch, Debby Griffen, to games, raffles and countless other activities, visitors will have no problem keeping busy during the “once-in-a-hundred-years“ celebration.
The Simsbury Historical Society’s Centennial Celebration will take place on Oct. 15 from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free. For any question, please call 869-658- 2500 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The rain date is Oct 16.