Jaffrey 250 celebration events are set for this weekend

As part of Jaffrey's 250th celebrations, the town held a Salute to Veterans in June.

As part of Jaffrey's 250th celebrations, the town held a Salute to Veterans in June. STAFF FILE PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI


Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 08-18-2023 10:35 AM

This weekend’s events celebrating Jaffrey’s 250th anniversary have been more than five years in the making, as the first planning meeting was in April 2018.

The final one was Tuesday night.

“It’s all over but the crying now,” said Town Administrator Jon Frederick, a member of the organizing committee. “So far, so good. Everything has been good events and a lot of fun.”

Activities leading up to this weekend’s events have included Oktoberfest, a Jubilee Ball, the Salute to Veterans, the fireman’s muster competition and a vintage-themed golf tournament, which took place at The Shattuck Golf Club Monday.

Frederick was on the committee that planned the Salute to Veterans in June, which he said took two years to put together. The event was slated to take place outside, but rain caused organizers to move most of the activities into the meetinghouse.

“We did it in fine military fashion, too,” he said.

The Salute to Veterans aside, Frederick said the events have had great weather.

“We’ve gotten lucky,” he said. “The veterans event was the only thing it really impeded.”

As for this weekend, Thursday’s commemoration program is inside the Jaffrey Meetinghouse and the historical displays will be under a big tent. The weather for Saturday and Sunday is expected to be clear, but showers and possible thunderstorms are forecast for Friday, when a concert featuring Recycled Percussion and fireworks are scheduled for Humiston Field. 

A crowd of about 2,000 is expected for the concert and fireworks, as ticket sales ended Monday and people will not be able to buy tickets at the gate.

“Friday night is the wild card right now,” Frederick said.

Frederick called Friday night’s activities a “game-time decision,” and said the big concern would be thunder and lightning.

“We’ll make sure we’re announcing beforehand what the plan is,” he said.

Frederick said he’s looking forward to participating in all the events this weekend, particularly the grand finale reception and concert at The Park Theatre featuring Ayla Brown Saturday night.

“That’s when everyone will be able to take a collective breath and say, ‘Hey, we did it,’” he said.

And Frederick already has a post-celebration plan.

“There’s probably a long motorcycle ride in my future on Sunday,” he said.

Schedule of events

The commemoration program Thursday, Aug. 17, at the Jaffrey Meetinghouse will include historical displays reminiscent of the 150th anniversary under the big tent starting at 2 p.m. The official commemoration ceremony will be at 5:30 p.m.

Jeffrey Crocker, a longtime lawyer, will be the guest speaker at the ceremony. Crocker’s parents, Joe and Esther Crocker, moved to Jaffrey in 1950, becoming the first Jewish family in the town. He was born on Yom Kippur in 1953 at Monadnock Community Hospital in Peterborough and grew up in Jaffrey.

On Friday, Aug. 18, at 7 p.m. a marker on the Black Heritage Trial of New Hampshire will be dedicated in honor of Amos Fortune outside the gates of the Old Burying Ground. The ceremony will include remarks from local dignitaries and Black Heritage Trial of New Hampshire representatives.

Following the ceremony, at 8 p.m., the final talk of this year’s Amos Fortune Forum will take place. Jennifer Gruda, senior judicial assistant to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, will present “A View From Behind The Bench.”

An outdoor concert with Recycled Percussion and fireworks are set for 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at Humiston Field, with gates opening at 6 p.m. Shuttle bus service will be provided from the Conant Middle High School parking lot, Monadnock Plaza and the former W.W. Cross lot across from the American Legion. No more tickets are available for the concert and fireworks, as attendance is capped at 2,000 people.

The jubilee parade is Saturday, Aug. 19, at 10 a.m. The parade begins at Conant Middle High School and ends at the former St. Patrick’s School. The review stand will be at the Jaffrey Chamber of Commerce parking lot. Cynthia Hamilton and Bernie Hampsey are the grand marshals.

Festivities conclude with a finale concert featuring Ayla Brown Saturday at The Park Theatre. Brown was a finalist on “American Idol” in 2006 and is currently the morning host on Country 102.5 in Boston. She and her husband Rob Bellamy perform regularly throughout New England, along with her band.

Tickets for the show are $20, and are available at theparktheatre.org. A reception begins at 6 p.m., with the concert at 7:15 p.m.