Bedford Tricentennial Committee Merging onto the Fast Track of a Town Celebration

September 18, 2023
Bedford Flag on The Great Road
In a mere five years, Bedford will be 300 years old. In a report to the Select Board on Monday, the Ad Hoc Tricentennial Committee explained the basics of big plans for a yearlong birthday celebration. Image Jennifer Stewart

Poised with a new name, Bedford’s Ad Hoc Tricentennial Committee is on the precipice of what will be a quick and busy five years of fundraising, organizing, and planning for an entire calendar year intended to be filled with events culminating in a dramatic celebration. 

At the Bedford Select Board meeting last Monday, Mike Rosenberg, chair of the Committee, presented the work of the exploratory group of volunteers over the past handful of years, laid out preliminary plans and ideas, and asked for advice on two organizational aspects of the group. 

The easiest item of business was taken care of in a motion unanimously passed by the Select Board changing the name from Ad Hoc Bedford 300 Exploratory Task Force to Ad Hoc Tricentennial Committee. Rosenberg suggested the name change, explaining that the “exploratory” part has been completed and the committee of appointed volunteers is now moving into a planning phase. Rosenberg admitted that despite having the double zeros in “300” allowing an easy smiley face to be drawn, he preferred upgrading the term to the more formal sounding “tricentennial.”  

A year-long tricentennial celebration is intended to kick off on Bedford Day in 2028. From there, for the entire year leading up to Bedford Day in September of 2029 the Tricentennial Committee is hoping that all of the events typically on the Bedford calendar (for example, Memorial Day Parade, Pole Capping, Tree Lighting, Change of Command, and MLK Breakfast) will be enhanced and amplified to be celebrated with a higher level of intention. 

Additional commemorations and events are being discussed to add in throughout the celebration year, from a speaker series, to a time capsule, to possible commemorative state license plates. The 300th birthday year would culminate in a Bedford Day celebration “on steroids.”

Rosenberg laid out a few components of the committee’s five-year plan, starting with visibility this Saturday at the group’s Bedford Day booth. The committee is interested in involving the public and will be soliciting ideas for events and activities and rallying interest and excitement on Saturday and moving forward. A public logo competition can be expected within the year. Organizations, businesses, and groups around town will need to become involved for the current plan to work out, both in adding to the intended year-long celebration and with funding. 

However, how to address fundraising was another question and topic of discussion during the meeting. As an Ad Hoc committee, there is a question on the legality of raising money and soliciting donations. Similarly, there was a question about freely adding the number of volunteers that may be needed as the group nears the town’s big birthday. 

Rosenberg lightly mentioned the solution of a “Friends of” group setup. Select Board member Margot Fleishman also mentioned the possibility of a spin-off group that could solve both concerns. Rosenberg enjoyed the clout that being an official town committee gave the group. Seeking out Town Councel advice was recommended to help with solutions for both issues. 

As it stands, there is some wiggle room for adding volunteers. There are currently three vacancies on the nine-person at-large member tricentennial committee. Rosenberg mentioned an interest in having high school students and/or representatives in their 20s to broaden the demographic of the committee.    

Rosenberg closed out his 25-minute portion of the meeting agenda by thanking the Select Board, reminding the group that the next five years will go by fast, so “fasten your seatbelts.” 

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