By: Maria Moore
The second Sunday in September is New Hartford Day, the town’s and Eureka Grange’s annual fair at Brodie Park. It’s a great time for residents and those from surrounding communities to visit and eat food provided by local civic organizations, while the children play with friends and eat too many treats, provided for free at most of the booths. Local businesses are there to display their wares and visit with friends, while the local political parties show off their candidates running for office. And all the while the sound of live music adds to the festive atmosphere.
This year, the 39th Annual New Hartford Day, will be that much more special since the theme of the day is ‘Celebrate Brodie Park’ in recognition of the acquisition of the park by the town 25 years ago. Berkshire Hall will be open and there will be displays and photos of the many changes that have happened to the park over the last quarter-century.
The highlight of the day will be at 1 p.m., when a short ceremony will be held to thank former First Selectwoman Anita Baxter and her Board of Selectmen, Attorney Skip Rogers and Andy Riess, and of course, the Brodie Family, for their role in acquiring Brodie Park for the town.
The Recreation Commission and the New Hartford Day Committee have been working together on this special component of New Hartford Day this year. Rec Director Dennis Minor pointed out a large boulder that has been set in place at the entrance of the park at the corner of the tennis courts. “By Sunday, there’ll be a bronze plaque on it,” Dennis promised. Dennis will be emceeing the ceremony with Dr. and Mrs. Brodie in attendance, Anita and other members of her Board of Selectmen. Dan Jerram , the town’s current First Selectman, has been invited to say a few words before the plaque is unveiled. “It’ll be a short ceremony,” Dennis said, “but very meaningful.”
The wording on the plaque is simple but acknowledges the contribution of the lead players in the 1986 acquisition of the Brodie Park property. The plaque reads:
“In recognition of the 25th anniversary of Brodie Park
“The Jewel of the Northwest Corner”
“Special Thanks and appreciation to Dr. and Mrs. Brodie, Anita Baxter
and all the dedicated volunteers who participated in the acquisition process.”
Board of Selectmen
Anita Baxter, Norman “Skip” Rogers
Leo Reitmann (1985), Andrew F. Riess (1986).
See the end of this article for a copy of the complete schedule of events for New Hartford Day.
About New Hartford Day
New Hartford Day began in 1974 as a town get-together that was held annually at Brown’s Corner. After Brodie Park was purchased in 1986, the event was moved to that park. In 1989 Mary Lee Dunn volunteered to help organize the event and she is still organizing it with the help of Sally O’Neill.
Mary Lee has said that her greatest pride comes from organizing something the entire town seems to get involved with and she looks forward to this time every year. Why is it so special? Most of all, she said, because it is about community and coming together as a town. And this year, that coming together will include celebrating townspeople who are responsible for giving the community a meeting place as special as Brodie Park.
This article first appeared in the NH+ INDEPENDENT issue of September 15.