Long Meddowe Days to celebrate 30 years
By Courtney Llewellyn
Reminder Assistant Editor
LONGMEADOW When Reminder Publications asked Peter Santos, the founder of Long Meddowe Days, how it felt to be serving as the festival's parade grand marshal 30 years after it began, Santos joked, "It makes me feel like I'm 30 years older."
He then added, "I feel kind of honored. It started as a little, funny thing to do, but a lot of people like it."
The first Long Meddowe Days took place in 1979, and Santos said he started it with the intention of building up something great for the town's bicentennial in 1983. The first festival saw close to 20,000 visitors and 300 booths, and four years later, for the big celebration, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra played on the Town Green and a ball was hosted by Bay Path College.
Now, three decades later, the Historical Society is gearing up for the community celebration once again. This year's event will be taking place the weekend of May 16 and 17 on the Town Green.
"We're hoping the good weather will be here in abundance," Crawford Lincoln, chair of this year's Long Meddowe Days and president of the Historical Society, said. "We hope to have a great turnout for the events. It's hard to pick out one that is the most significant."
New this year will be a parade reviewing stand where elected officials and other can review the parade as it marches along its route. The parade itself will feature a fife and drum corps, bagpipes and a "lovingly restored" antique police cruiser, according to Lincoln.
Long Meddowe Days will be taking place during a weekend of celebration and fun for the entire town. The Parks and Recreation Department will be offering a variety of activities, the Meddowe Vintage Base Ball Club is inviting all the "cranks" to its first home game on May 17 and Glenbrook Middle School will be hosting "No Funny Stuff #3."
"It's great to see all these groups working together," Lincoln stated. "It's always a lot of fun, and this year will be no exception."
Funds raised from Long Meddowe Days go to the Historical Society for the maintenance of the Storrs House and its collections, and monies raised from the 16th Annual Tim Paige Memorial Long Meddowe Days 5K Road Race will go toward funding an internship with the society.
Things have been slowing down for the annual festival, however. "People really love Long Meddowe Days," Santos said. "It's still a festive day, but the crowds aren't what they used to be."
He added that he doesn't know how much longer the festival will last without the support of new, younger volunteers.
"It's a commitment to a year-long project," Santos noted. "Right now, it seems to be seniors doing all the work."
An older person himself, Santos, a Korean War veteran, will continue to put together the Long Meddowe Days memorial service, but said he will no longer take a leadership role.
Those wishing to step up and help out with next year's festival are invited to contact the Longmeadow Historical Society. Visit www.longmeadow.org/hist_soc/histsoc_main.html for more information.
Schedule of Events
Skyliners concert in the high school auditorium, 7 p.m., admission.
16th Annual Road Race: walkers start at 7:30 a.m., runners at 8.
8:30 a.m. -- Parade assembles behind St Mary's Church.
9 a.m. -- Parade with reviewing stand. Route: Hopkins Place, Rt. 5, to Center School.
10 a.m. -- 5 p.m. -- Artists, crafters, Civil War re-enactors, community groups, food court, kids crafts and games, town department booths, pony rides, climbing wall, train ride (over 30 new crafters).
11 a.m. -- 4 p.m. - Entertainment on the food court stage.
1 -- 3 p.m. -- Museum open house, 697 Longmeadow St.
1 -- 4 p.m. - Sprite and Fairy Festival, north green.
1:15 p.m. -- Old Burying Yard Tour, meet behind First Church.
2 -- 3 p.m.- Fairy Tea Party, Community House.
3 p.m. - Architectural Tour, meet in front of First Church.
Noon - Memorial Day service with Col. Spelman as speaker.
Noon -- 5 p.m. - Artists, etc., same as Saturday.
1 p.m. - Vintage base ball game, Strople Field, Williams Street to Williams Court.
1 -- 3 p.m. - Museum open house, 697 Longmeadow St.
1 -- 4 p.m. - Entertainment
2:15 p.m. - Old Burying Yard Tour
3 p.m. - Architectural Tour
5 p.m. Long Meddowe Days comes to a close.