WALLINGFORD — The town’s 350th Jubilee Celebration has been tentatively rescheduled to September.
The eight-day celebration of the 350th anniversary of the town’s founding was slated for June, but due to coronavirus concerns all events have been postponed.
“We had to make that difficult decision to really safeguard resources,” said Christine Mansfield, 350th committee co-chair. “Town planning right now should be all about public safety and health. We’ll celebrate Wallingford as we can, but right now it does not seem prudent or thoughtful.”
At a special meeting of the 350th steering committee Friday, Mansfield and Bob Devaney, the other co-chair, recommended moving the celebration to Sept. 26-Oct. 4, according to meeting minutes.
The other members attending — Jerry Farrell Jr., Liz Landow and Tarn Granucci — unanimously agreed.
The new date of the float parade, which kicks off the celebration, is Saturday, Sept. 26.
“We’re going to take the next few weeks to try and figure out the rest of the schedule,” Mansfield said. “Some of the events will be easier to move than others.”
Mansfield said that a new Jubilee schedule should be ready by April 1, but the rescheduled dates will be tentative and depend on whether state and federal health mandates on crowd and event planning are lifted.
“Actually, it could be really exciting because the end of that week is Celebrate Wallingford,” Mansfield said. “It could be quite powerful from a community standpoint.”
Celebrate Wallingford is an annual showcase of the business and civic community, held downtown the first weekend of October.
She said that the committee has had preliminary discussions with Liz Landow, executive director of Wallingford Center Inc., to explore combining the two celebrations.
Subcommittees of the 350th celebration still need to discuss the plans with volunteers.
“All of our chairpeople have been 100 percent behind it,” Mansfield said.
She said that several business sponsors have recommitted to funding events, including Ulbrich Steel, Choate Rosemary Hall and other smaller sponsors.
The fireworks show is slated to go on, but due to the postponement the fireworks vendor’s contract is set to lapse before the new September date.
Jon-Paul Venoit, president & CEO of Masonicare, said in a statement Tuesday that the senior health care continuum will maintain its sponsorship of the fireworks. The cost is $19,800, according to the 350th committee budget.
“Masonicare is a proud member of the Wallingford community and remains committed to supporting and sponsoring the fireworks for our community’s 350th celebration,” he said Tuesday in a statement.
Legion Fireworks Co. is in the third year of a contract with the town to put on its fireworks shows that ends with the fiscal year in June, and Mansfield said the town will need to go back out to bid.
“We’re going to have to explore what that looks like from a funding standpoint,” she said. “Those are the types of decisions we’ll have to take some time … We’ll at least get the process started to evaluate that.”
How to join the meeting remotely
A special meeting of the 350th Jubilee directors committee is slated for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday through video conferencing.
The committee is slated to discuss the impact of the coronavirus on event planning and move the event week to September, along with discussing the new schedule.
The public can join the virtual meeting at https://zoom.us/j/754550656 with the meeting ID 754 550 656.