History comes to life
Darien’s story comes to life this fall with a groundbreaking celebration – a one-day family event including colonial protests, a re-enactment of the 1781 raid on the Middlesex Meetinghouse, and an 18th-century battle skirmish.
City Heritage Day will be held on Saturday, October 23 from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (rain date: Sunday, October 24) at three local historic sites and will feature members of the Fifth Connecticut Regiment and the 15th Regiment of Foot, two organizations dedicated to keeping the spirit of ’76 alive.
Events and activities are planned by the city’s 2020 Bicentennial Committee and are coordinated by Karen Boccadoro, a Darien resident who is a member of the Fifth Board of Directors.
âWe are delighted to bring this hands-on historical experience to Darien,â said Boccadoro, who has been a re-enactor for over 15 years with her husband, Carl. âIt will be a day that will be remembered for many years to come.
The volunteers will represent patriotic and loyalist militia groups as they conduct exercises and skirmishes. The highlight of the day will be the re-enactment of the 1781 raid of Middlesex Meetinghouse (now Darien’s first congregational church). The re-enactment of the raid is co-sponsored by the Darien Arts Center and directed by Carole Claps, a longtime Darien resident who has directed numerous theatrical performances throughout the region.
The festivities will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the Darien Museum, 45 Old Kings Highway North, where members of the Fifth CT Regiment, dressed in period costume, will perform demonstrations of colonial cooking and crafts, and also mingle with the crowd to talk about life during the war. Musket drills for children will take place at 10:45 am and 11:30 am. Complimentary refreshments will be provided by Palmer’s Market.
At 12:45 p.m., the crowd will be invited to walk to Darien’s First Congregational Church, 14 Brookside Road, where a play recounting the 1781 raid at Middlesex Meetinghouse will be performed by members of the 15th Regiment of Foot and local volunteer actors. . The re-enactment will take place outside the church on the steps.
The piece has been revised from the original work from the 1980s by Patricia Wall, the former director of the Darien Museum. It chronicles the Tory raid on the Meetinghouse when more than 40 male members of the congregation were kidnapped in a daring raid on Sunday.
âWe have an extremely enthusiastic group who will describe the men and women of Middlesex Parish who lived through this groundbreaking traumatic event,â said Claps, who directed âDarien’s Got Talentâ for the Darien Arts Center and produced numerous evenings and cabaret shows.
At 2:30 p.m., the day will continue at The Mather Homestead, 19 Stephen Mather Road, where the 1781 raid on Mather Farm will be reenacted. This drama will chronicle the times when silver coins were discovered by Tory looters in the Homestead well.
The day will be crowned with a military drill, cannon fire and a thrilling demonstration of a skirmish between British and Colonial troops in the fields adjacent to the Homestead. âThis has been a huge, multi-year effort from a very committed group of volunteers who have continued to work throughout the pandemic to organize these momentous Darien bicentennial events,â said Al Miller, chair of the committee. of the city’s 2020 bicentenary.
Members of the Darien Police Department will be on hand at all locations to direct traffic. Parking will be available near the museum at 85 Old Kings Highway North and on-site at The Mather Homestead. For everyone’s safety, the organizers ask all participants to comply with current and local Covid guidelines.
Checks can be mailed to Darien Town Hall, 2 Renshaw Road, Darien, CT 06820 and include ATT: 2020 Bicentennial on the envelope. Special thanks to Palmer’s Market for generously donating the Heritage Day refreshments and to the 2020 Bicentennial Official Sponsors for their generosity and continued support.
Platinum Benefactor – The Diamond of the Darien Foundation – The City of Darien
Gold – Crestwood Advisors, Baywater Properties, DR Bank, Hollow Tree Self Storage, The Waters Edge at Giovanni’s, William Raveis Real Estate, Mortgage & Insurance
Money – NEIL HAUCK ARCHITECTS, RAND Insurance
Bronze – Barrett Bookstore, Cross Private Client Insurance, Darien Board of Realtors
Exclusive Magazine Sponsor – New Canaan-Darien Magazine
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