As 2012 comes to a close, Duxbury reflects on its 375th anniversary. After all the events, it is clear this special birthday celebration was just that: special.
Tony Kelso, 375th Committee co-chair, said he could tell people enjoyed all the events, whether they were events the 375th Committee planned or things that other groups did.
“I think it had what we intended it to do, which was to ripple out to a lot of different parts of the Duxbury community,” he said.
Anne Antonellis, 375th Committee co-chair, said she believes the yearlong celebration created a ‘rebirthing’ of people who were new to Duxbury or who never truly understood the history of the town. She said she hopes people will continue to learn about the community.
“We learned things that we didn’t know before and we also had a different audience,” she said. “It wasn’t just the people who were interested in history, it was more of an overall group.”
Both Kelso and Antonellis credited the Senior Center with being a major player in drumming up interest in learning more about the history of the town with their Lifelong Learning events. Kelso noted the Open Door event in September surprised him with the large turnout.
“It was a perfect weekend and so many people came out,” he said. “Some had never been in these places and it really took me by surprise.”
Kelso said the committee of 19 started talking about signature events, but things evolved over the year. He said the original intent was to celebrate all 375 years and not concentrate just on the establishment of the town.
“I feel like it brought the community together,” Antonellis said. “Everybody couldn’t do everything, but they still felt like they were a part of something.”
Antonellis said the committee is looking to donate something from its work to be placed on the town green in memory of the year of celebration. With the large attendance at so many of the events, the committee raised enough money to create a permanent installment that will be decided upon in the coming weeks.
“We want something lasting and memorable,” Kelso said. “The events were great, but they are ephemeral; they’re gone now and we want something to commemorate the year.”
“I had a blast,” Antonellis said. “We got to meet some really great people.”
Antonellis said the most surprising event for the committee was the first event, “Expressions of Duxbury.” She said it was at this event that they knew they had a good team to work with throughout the year.
“We pulled this off and raised a lot of money that funded many of the events throughout the year,” she said. “At the end of the day we were really surprised and impressed with our team.”
Kelso said the yearlong celebration brought awareness to Duxbury’s assets to people who were unaware of the history and the resources available to them.
He said he enjoyed being on the committee and was proud to be a part of Duxbury’s history. Antonellis agreed and said she’d like to be part of another celebration.
“We were part of something,” Antonellis said. “We would definitely do it again.”