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Brookfield Celebrates 225th Anniversary in 2013

Local organizations have partnered together for a year in celebration of Brookfield.

In 1789, exactly 225 years ago this year, the winter parish of Newbury — made up of parts of Danbury, Newtown and New Milford — was officially incorporated as the Town of Brookfield, taking the name of the parish’s first permanent minister, Rev. Thomas Brooks.

In honor of the quasquibicentennial, a 225th Celebration Committee was brought together by local volunteers to organize events throughout the year highlighting Brookfield’s history.

Nearly a year and a half ago, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Susan Murphy helped bring together the leaders of several local organizations, each taking on a different event for almost every month of the year. (Nothing has been scheduled yet for August.)

Some of the events, such as the Memorial Day Parade, are annual events, however this year Murphy said they plan to “Jack it up — make the floats more historic,” focusing on Brookfield’s past as well as the veterans that fought so it can exist.

Others, like Brookfield Days in October, are special gatherings being held this year specifically for the 225th Celebration. The two-day event starts out in the Ironworks District, the area around the Brookfield Craft Center and Brookfield’s historic industrial center. According to Murphy, committee members are currently working to get a special visit from the Housatonic Railroad. The second day, held at Town Hall, will include the digging up of the bicentennial time capsule, buried in 1998.

The capsule — which, if Murphy remembers correctly includes a few bottles of DiGrazia wine — will be filled with a few more things and buried again for the next anniversary celebration.

“When you’re in Europe, someone says, ‘That building is 1,000-plus years old,’ and we’re only 200-plus years old, so there is some perspective,” Murphy pointed out. “But it’s important to recognize our history.”

Selectman Howard Lasser, one of the initial organizers of the Celebration Committee and an admitted history major during undergrad, agreed.

“Every so often, on major milestones, we should take some time to look back over our shoulder to celebrate our accomplishments, to learn from our missteps, so we can be more certain of where we want to go,” he said.

“In our founding and through the Civil war, up to today, you can find examples of Brookfielders disagreeing but still coming together in the end,” Lasser said. “Our history shows that even as the faces and — some of — the names have changed, we are still a community that values volunteerism, public debate and coming together in the end.”

There are 13 more events planned between now and December [see schedule below]. Check back with Brookfield Patch as they get closer for more on each celebration.

225th Celebration Schedule of Events

  • 225th Birthday Gala at The Candlewood Inn, sponsored by the Brookfield Chamber of Commerce — March 16
  • Brookfield Historical Society and Museum Open House Exhibit — April 6 and 7
  • Historical Memorial Day Parade and Strawberry Festival, sponsored by the Lions Club of Brookfield — May 26
  • The Victorian Lady, sponsored by the Brookfield Library — June 8
  • Garden Club of Brookfield Historical Garden Tour — June
  • Band Concert at Town Bandstand with Fireworks Display — July 5
  • Historical Site Tour of Candlewood Lake and Lake Lillinonah — July
  • Historical Farm Day at Gurski Farm — September 22
  • Brookfield Days in the Ironworks District — October 5
  • Brookfield Days at Town Hall with Time Capsule Opening — October 6
  • Historical Home Tour, sponsored by the Women’s Club of Brookfield — October 19
  • Festival of Crafts at Whisconier Middle School — November 2
  • Brookfield High School Band Concert Honoring the 225th Birthday — December
Kathleen January 16, 2013 at 05:36 PM
do you know who is charge of the Festival of Crafts?
Jaimie Cura (Editor) January 16, 2013 at 06:54 PM
Hi Kathleen - I recommend calling the Chamber at 203-775-8282. I'm so excited for this anniversary - the events sound like a lot of fun and I'm kind of loving the word "quasquibicentennial!"
Steven DeVaux January 16, 2013 at 07:03 PM
They (the Brookfield Chamber of Commerce) isn't even hosting their annual meeting in Brookfield!
JM January 16, 2013 at 07:18 PM
Steve, are you even in Brookfield?
Susan Merlo January 16, 2013 at 08:50 PM
The Brookfield Chamber of Commerce's Annual Meeting is being held at the lovely Capallero's Grove in Bethel. Capallero's Grove is a valued neighbor of Brookfield in addition to being valued members of our Chamber. Choosing them for our Annual Meeting made the most economical and logistical sense based on several factors. The Annual Meeting is going to be a fabulous event held on January 23 at 7:45am that will feature, among other things, keynote speaker Deborah Weymouth of Western CT Health Network, who will talk about healthcare reform and how it affects so many of us. Tickets are still available for $25 each. The price includes a full breakfast with some wonderful people, and can be obtained by calling the Brookfield Chamber office at (203) 775-8282.
Susan Merlo January 16, 2013 at 08:51 PM
The Brookfield Chamber of Commerce's Annual Meeting is being held at the lovely Capallero's Grove in Bethel. Capallero's Grove is a valued neighbor of Brookfield in addition to being valued members of our Chamber. Choosing them for our Annual Meeting made the most economical and logistical sense based on several factors. The Annual Meeting is going to be a fabulous event held on January 23 at 7:45am that will feature, among other things, keynote speaker Deborah Weymouth of Western CT Health Network, who will talk about healthcare reform and how it affects so many of us. Tickets are still available for $25 each. The price includes a full breakfast with some wonderful people, and can be obtained by calling the Brookfield Chamber office at (203) 775-8282.
Rich Starkins January 18, 2013 at 05:58 PM
The Brookfield Historical Society is in charge of the Festival of Crafts.
Jacqueline A. Salame January 22, 2013 at 09:25 PM
I would also like to point out that it is the 40th Anniversary of Brookfield's Historic District, the heart of where Brookfield's history began. The Historic District Commission is planning activities in addition to the list mentioned above which will coordinate with the Memorial Day Parade and Strawberry Festival, as well as some additional events.

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