Town moves forward with 200th anniversary plans

Get ready to party in 2020.
The town of Darien is in the beginning stages of planning for its 200th anniversary next year.
At the Feb. 13 meeting of the 2020 Committee — a subcommittee of the town’s Monuments and Ceremonies Commission — a handful of people got together to discuss details of the anniversary plans.
Members include Susan Cator, director of the Darien Chamber of Commerce; Allan Miller, board member of the Darien Historical Society; Ken Reiss, historian at the historical society; Maggie McIntire, director of the historical society; Lisa Shanahan; board member at the historical society; Sarah Lexow Keena, education volunteer at the historical society; Kate Larson, board member at the historical society; and Lexow Keena, museum educator at the historical society.
First Selectman Jayme Stevenson also attended the meeting.
Miller will serve as chairperson of the 2020 Committee.
Logo contest
Last November, the committee held a logo contest, which was open to all high school students in Darien. Students were invited to design Darien’s bicentennial logo.
"The design needed to include the following elements: Darien, 2020 and Bicentennial. Any medium was considered.
Letters were sent to every teacher at the high school with sign-up forms and emails. Sarah Lexow Keena, who was organizing the logo contest, received four submissions.
It was decided at the meeting that Bob Pascal, who was the former chairman of the 2020 committee and who was not in attendance at the meeting, will work with designers to come up with a design for the logo. The design will incorporate many of the elements that the four students had in their designs. The students would get credit for the logo.
The designers would do the work pro bono, according to Stevenson.
“This would therefore be considered a gift to the town,” she said.
At the meeting, it was decided that the committee will maintain the official calendar for all the scheduled 2020 events in town.
“All the activities we hope to schedule between April and June of 2020,” Miller said.
On June 12, the town will have a birthday party, blessing its incorporation.
The committee is in charge of several items for the 2020 celebration, including the annual beach party. Volunteers are needed for the event.
In addition, the committee is in charge of communications and public relations. Members will be working on such tasks as writing press releases and creating banners.
The committee is also responsible for youth and education, which will involve coordinating with the local schools about the event.
Historical marker program
According to Miller, there are there are 12 “very important” sites around the town that have historical significance.
“We would propose to put some type of marker or plaque around those sites,” Miller said.
“Our celebration is from April to June. So, that’s 12 weeks. You can do one a week,” he said, adding the town can hold a ceremony to dedicate the plaques.
Reiss said the plaques would have the 2020 logo on them “so that the whole bicentennial idea carries forward beyond just this year. Many of the markers would be on public land. We would provide the text and illustrations.”
Members said people would be able to take a self-guided tour of all the sites.
“You can go from place to place and be educated about that location,” Stevenson said.
Committee members also said they would like the installations to be permanent.
“For this particular project, it should be places that are germane to our 200th birthday celebration — not to say you couldn’t expand those over time to include places and times that are relevant to Darien, but we should probably focus on those locations,” Stevenson said.
A calendar of the 2020 events is being published that would go out to all residents.
“In Darien, we have 8,390 deliveries. There are 7,759 total residential addresses,” Cator said. “[The calendar] could be mailed to every household, but you would have to have all the event dates to hit Jan. 1 in the mailboxes.”
They talked about linking the event calendar to each of their respective websites, such as the website of the historical society, the chamber of commerce, the town, and the 2020 committee.
“The town of Darien is very much looking to be an integral partner in the celebration going forward,” Stevenson said. “I’m looking forward to bringing as many organizations together to take a little piece of what we hope will be an amazing year, and having 2020 be such a great marketing scheme, it also gives us a chance to look forward to where we’re going because of where we’ve been. I love the opportunities that that brings in relation to all that’s happening here in the town of Darien that’s new and exciting.”
Meetings of the 2020 Committee will take place the second Wednesday of every month at 11 a.m., for approximately one hour at town hall. The next meeting will be March 13.