'Meant to be:' Darien celebrates 200th birthday with Weed Beach bash

DARIEN — The biggest birthday party in centuries finally took place Saturday evening when the town celebrated an in-person party commemorating Darien’s 200th with its Bicentennial Bash.

This celebration - first among a series of events planned to commemorate the town’s 200th birthday - comes one year late due to the restrictions of the pandemic. But it was better late than never for the 500 who attended the bash at Weed Beach.

“We’re so excited,” said Al Miller, chair of the Bicentennial Committee, which included more than a dozen officials spanning the Museum of Darien, the Parks & Recreation Department, and members of the Monuments and Ceremonies Commission.

“This has been such a great collaborative effort,” said Maggie McIntire, executive director of the museum.

Her organization distributed tri-corner hats to kids, shared historic artifacts and even had two historic cosplayers participating at the event.

“I’m so happy it’s finally here,” said Karen Boccadoro of Darien, who — along with her husband, Carl - was dressed up as Darien settler Rebecca Scofield and her husband, Sylvanus Scofield, who served as a soldier with the 5th Connecticut Regiment in the original Middlesex Parish.

“You need to remember your heritage,” Carl Boccadoro said, “where you come from, and the men and women who sacrificed their lives and their fortunes to help the town and the country.”

Some of those in attendance brought picnic dinners, while others dined on food provided by The Water’s Edge at Giovanni’s.

Live music was performed by local ensemble Exit Ramp, with sundries and particulars made possible through over a dozen local sponsors, including The Darien Foundation and the town itself.

Pamela Gery, Parks & Rec director, said she was honored that the committee suggested combining this party with the annual Weed Beach Fest, which began in 2017 and was dormant last year.

“People are really happy that we organized this for them,” she said, noting that tickets sold out in two hours, with another 200 people added to the waiting list.

“It’s a beautiful night,” said Susan Marks of Darien, who also served on the Bicentennial Committee. “It all worked out perfectly. It was meant to be.”

Along with the yearlong COVID delay, the original scheduled date of Friday, June 4, was postponed overnight due to the threat of thunderstorms.

“It was a wonderful call,” Miller said. “This is the perfect day.”