Town Picnic to Become a Yearly Tradition
Founder's Day Picnic to be held again June 23.
Last year’s 300th Birthday Picnic left area residents wishing it was an annual event. That wish has come true.
On the property between Henri A. Yelle Elementary and Norton High School Saturday, June 23, 5 to 9 p.m., Norton Parks and Recreation will reinvent that celebration as the Founder’s Day Picnic, a yearly reminder of the town’s founding in 1711. And just in case it rains as it did last year, a rain date is set for the same time Saturday, June 30.
“I’ve been in town now for 22 years. This past year just brought the town together like I’ve never brought together in my life before,” said Bill Lippincott of 2011’s tricentennial events. He headed up the first organizational meeting at VFW Monday night, along with 14 other members of the community.
“At the end of the picnic last year, I started a rumor that it would be a cool thing to do this again,” Lippincott said. “Well you know what happens. When you start a rumor you got to fess up to it.”
Lippencott, chairperson of Norton Parks and Recreation Sheri Cohen and unofficial tricentennial celebration photographer Ralph Stefanelli met in the fall to discuss the possibility of making the picnic an annual occurrence.
Roughly 3,000 people joined in the fun last year, and just as many, if not more, are expected this year.
Just as in 2011, the picnic will have fun for all ages. It included hay rides, face painting, food from various local vendors, a dunk tank, bands and more. Perhaps the most memorable part of last year’s celebration were the booming fireworks which could be heard in neighboring Mansfield. Ocean State PyroTechnics has enthusiastically agreed to put on the display again this year.
“The rave reviews from the public made it all worth while,” said Norton Emergency Management Agency deputy director Ray Cord, who helped out last year.
While last year the RE/MAX hot air balloon couldn’t be used because of wind conditions, it has been secured for this summer’s extravaganza. There is also talk of organizing an all-star softball game pitting community agencies against one another.
While work will have begun on the high school, it should not effect the picnic.
The Founder’s Day Picnic Committee will work with a $15,000 budget. About $10,000 will be needed for the fireworks alone, and the rest will be used for miscellaneous necessities. To make the event as successful as last year, they will need help from the community by soliciting for volunteers, donations and sponsors. Four major sponsors will be sought by a pending date of March 21.
While volunteer, donation and sponsor forms are not yet available, those interested can contact Bill Lippincott, email@example.com.
Anyone interested may attend meetings at the VFW every Monday for the month of February.
For anyone who would like to relive all tricentennial events from last year, two photo DVD packages are available for $5 at Walgreens.