HEADLINES

Darien’s Heritage Day, An All-Day Family Event to Celebrate the Town’s 200th Birthday

History Comes To Life

Darien’s history comes to life this fall with a Revolutionary celebration — an all-day family event featuring colonial demonstrations, a reenactment of the 1781 Raid on Middlesex Meetinghouse and an 18th -century battle skirmish.

The town’s 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 historical landmarks 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.

The events and activities are being planned by the town’s 2020 Bicentennial Committee and are coordinated by Karen Boccadoro, a Darien resident who is a member of the Fifth’s board.

“We are thrilled to bring this hands-on historical experience to Darien,” said Boccadoro, who has been a reenactor for over 15 years along with her husband, Carl. “It will be a day that will live in our memories for many years to come.

Volunteers will portray Patriot and Loyalist militia groups as they conduct drills and skirmishes. The highlight of the day will be the reenactment of the 1781 Raid of Middlesex Meetinghouse (today’s First Congregational Church of Darien). The raid reenactment 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 kick off at 10:30 a.m. at the Museum of Darien, 45 Old Kings Highway North, where members of the Fifth CT Regiment, dressed in period costume, will conduct colonial cooking and artisan demonstrations, and also mingle with the crowd to talk about life during the War. Children’s Musket Drills will be held at 10:45 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Free refreshments will be provided by Palmer’s Market.

At 12:45 p.m., the crowd will be invited to stroll up the road to The First Congregational Church of Darien, 14 Brookside Road, where a play recounting the 1781 Raid of Middlesex Meetinghouse will be performed by members of the 15th Regiment of Foot and local volunteer actors. The reenactment will take place outside of the church on the front steps.

The play was revised from the original 1980s work by Patricia Wall, the former director of the Museum of Darien. It recounts the Tory raid on the Meetinghouse when over 40 male members of the congregation were kidnapped in a daring Sunday raid.

“We have a tremendously enthusiastic group who will portray the men and women of Middlesex Parish who lived through this traumatic Revolutionary event,” said Claps, who directed “Darien’s Got Talent” for the Darien Arts Center and produced many Cabaret evenings and performances.

At 2:30 p.m., the day will continue to unfold at The Mather Homestead, 19 Stephen Mather Road, where the 1781 raid on the Mather Farm will be reenacted. This drama will recount the moments when silver pieces were discovered by Tory raiders in the well of the Homestead.

The day will be capped by a military drill, cannon firing and an exciting demonstration of a skirmish between British and Colonial troops in the fields adjacent to the Homestead. “This has been a tremendous, multi-year effort by a group of very committed volunteers who kept working throughout the pandemic to deliver these memorable Darien Bicentennial events,” said Al Miller, chairman of the town’s 2020 Bicentennial Committee.

Commemorative Bicentennial merchandise will be sold at the events. Cash and checks accepted only. For more information on Bicentennial merchandise, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Members of the Darien Police Department will be on site 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, organizers ask that all participants comply with current state and local Covid guidelines.

More information please visit the town’s website at www.darienct.gov or for questions email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . To donate to the town’s Bicentennial Celebration, please write a check to Town of Darien, and include “2020 Bicentennial” in the memo line of the check.

Checks may be mailed to Darien Town Hall, 2 Renshaw Road, Darien, CT 06820 and include ATT: 2020 Bicentennial on the envelope. A special thank you to Palmer’s Market for generously donating the refreshments for Heritage Day and to the Official 2020 Bicentennial Sponsors for their generosity and continued support.

Platinum Benefactor — The Darien Foundation Diamond — The Town 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

Silver — NEIL HAUCK ARCHITECTS, RAND Insurance

Bronze — Barrett Bookstore, Cross Private Client Insurance, Darien Board of Realtors

Exclusive Magazine Sponsor — New Canaan-Darien Magazine

Follow Darien 2020 news and trivia at: Facebook: Darien2020 Instagram: @Darien200 Twitter: DarienCT200

Subscribe

Follow Darien HamletHub