The clock is ticking down to Darien’s 200th anniversary in 2020.

Darien's Bicentennial 2020 Committee has been meeting regularly, planning every detail of the celebrations — from donations to merchandise to outreach and even school activities.

At its Aug. 15 meeting, committee members announced they are now ready to take donations for the anniversary celebrations.

The donations will be put toward all official 2020 events and projects. The gifts would support every aspect of the town's plans, from ramping up Weed Beach Festival's Bicentennial Bash to making Heritage Day an event to remember with colonial games and historical reenactments.

Checks should be made out to: Town of Darien, 2 Renshaw Road, Darien, CT, 06820. On the memo section on the check as well as on the front of the envelope, write: For Darien 2020 Bicentennial. Checks can also be dropped off at Town Hall. Other means of payment are currently being discussed by committee members.

“Donations to the town's 2020 Bicentennial would be greatly appreciated,” said Chairman Alan Miller. “We are planning that 90 percent of our anticipated expenses will be covered by private donations from local residents and businesses, so we really need everyone's help to make Darien's 200th birthday a year to remember.”

Merchandise

The committee will be selling merchandise with the town’s bicentennial logo on it. Merchandise tentatively includes t-shirts, logos, long-sleeved shirts, and hoodies.

In addition, the committee is discussing the possibility of selling reusable grocery bags, lapel pins, car magnets, decals, and ornaments with the logo.

Committee members are working on processing PayPal and Venmo so students can purchase these items at some school functions when school begins in the fall.

The three students who created the logo are also tentatively planning to sit in front of local grocery stores and sell the 2020 merchandise.

They are also tentatively getting a batch of merchandise ready to sell on the first day of school and on Sept. 13 at the DHS club fair.

Outreach

Several outreach meetings are tentatively being scheduled, and all will be open to the public. At the meetings, there will be a slideshow presentation of what the 2020 celebrations are about and what events are being planned.

Heritage Day Ceremony date change

A unanimous vote was made at the meeting to move the Heritage Day Ceremony from June 13 to a date in the fall that has yet to be announced.

2020 logo

All organizations are required to ask the 2020 Bicentennial Committee permission to use the anniversary logo.

“We will respond with the logo you need to use, as well as a permission slip which provides the rules for using the logo,” Miller said.

To date, the Darien Land Trust, Darien Community Association, Darien Chamber of Commerce, and the Board of Finance have all requested use of the logo for their publications.

School planning

In September, all Darien teachers will tentatively get a Save the Year mailing that details the 2020 events. In October, they’ll tentatively get a booklet with suggestions for bicentennial activities they can do with their class.

“These will be completely volunteer by the teachers and by the school,” said Sarah Lexow Keena, the 2020 Bicentennial Committee's youth liaison. “We will create a different activity according to different grades. Every teacher will get the list of what every grade is doing.”

There was a discussion about students from each school standing out on the field and forming a 2020 or 200, and having someone take a photo of them.

Another suggestion was to create a Jeopardy 2020 game with facts about Darien.

Every door direct mail

A postcard about the 2020 celebrations will be sent to every address in town by carrier route.

“We are saturating the entire zip code. We are going to do every delivery,” said Susan Cater, president and executive director of the Darien Chamber of Commerce.

Thaddeus Bell

Darien First Selectman Jayme Stevenson, who was at the meeting, suggested someone pose as Thaddeus Bell — one of Darien’s founders — as part of the 2020 celebrations.

Bell would appear in various places unannounced throughout the year, whether it’s at a football game, the DHS cafeteria, or the Sugar Bowl luncheonette, in the same fashion as Where’s Waldo.

Committee members made a unanimous decision to earmark $500 for the restoration of Thaddeus Bells’ wife’s gravestone.

They discovered her gravestone is broken and needs to be repaired in time for the Anniversary Day Ceremony, which is going to be at the Thaddeus Bell gravesite.

Information on bicentennial events and projects is available at www.darienct.gov/2020 and social media posts can be found by searching “@DarienCT200” on Instagram and Twitter, or “DarienCT200” on Facebook.

sfox@darientimes.com