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WHAT A YEAR IT WAS!
A recap of the Sandwich 375th Anniversary Celebration
-by Don Bayley
Teams with themes such as the Dewey Decimators, Downton Abbey and Sweet Tarts started it off with a bang. It was the Spring of 2013 and “Team Trivia Night” was one of several successful “FUNdraisers” in which the Sandwich community got together to prepare for the largest anniversary celebration ever in the history of Cape Cod’s oldest town.
Sandwich, founded in 1637, officially became a town in 1639, sending representatives to the General Court of Plymouth Colony. Three years ago, the Sandwich 375 Committee was formed to plan, fund, and host a variety of gatherings, concerts, speakers programs, festivals, artistic and educational endeavors, and museum exhibits throughout 2014, in celebration of our 375th anniversary. The celebratory events were designed for all Sandwich residents and their visitors to thoroughly enjoy and understand what makes Sandwich, Sandwich!
Other “FUNdraisers” included a world-class Golf Tournament featuring a Hole-In-One contest where the prize was a brand new Toyota. The winning foursome were awarded gorgeous, one of a kind, hand blown glass trophies by Sandwich master glassblower Michael Magyar. There was a one-woman show at Café Chew, two Historical Home Tours featuring private residences and another Trivia Night in the Fall where dozens of local merchants contributed prizes and packages for Trivia winners and a Silent Auction.
Fundraisers continued throughout 2014. We published our very popular book Sandwich 375 Years: Photos, Facts and Fables of Cape Cod’s Oldest Town by Don Bayley; Kathryn Kleekamp graciously donated her print of “Sandwich Village” for the sale of 375 signed and numbered posters of it. Betsy Lehrer and Photofabrication Engineering Inc. donated 200 beautiful metal ornaments of our logo. Melinda S. Gallant brilliantly directed Our Town by Thornton Wilder featuring Sandwich actors. Many logo hats and tee shirts were sold as well. Many sponsors stepped forward including: Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, Cape Cod Healthcare, the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Department, the Enterprise Newspapers, Stop & Shop, Cape Cod Broadcasting, Kiwanis Club of Sandwich, Inc., Marshland Restaurants & Bakeries, NRG Energy, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital - Cape Cod, Eastern Bank, Sea Tow, Cape Cod Five, Coca Cola Bottling Company of Cape Cod, Wicked Local and Atlantic Subaru.
On New Years Eve of 2013, the Sandwich 375th celebration began with a real bang: the boom of a canon shot over Shawme Pond and the lighting of the 375 Giant set up alongside Town Hall. As the festivities of “First Night Sandwich” were coming to a close, the year-long celebratory events of Sandwich’s 375th Anniversary were now about to begin! And thanks to all the Sponsors and FUNdraising most were free to be enjoyed by everyone.
Winter events included concerts by the All-Schools Band and “Sandwich Soul!” During YOUTH ART MONTH students wrote poems and created pictures in different art mediums that portrayed what Sandwich meant to them. The whole Town was turned into an Art Gallery: art was displayed in restaurants, stores, businesses, the library, Town Hall and even the Police Station.
MARCH FOR THE ARTS hosted five consecutive Sundays of artistic events. First - a concert at Town Hall highlighted a new generation of ukulele players. Second - drums, marimba, vibraphone, cymbals, gongs…even flower pots…were featured in a solo concert by renowned percussionist Amy Lynn Barber. Third – live theater: “If This Stage Could Talk” and “Our Town: Sandwich.” Fourth - “Arts in Action” featured 20 artisans creating their masterpieces. Fifth - the Cape Cod Chorale presented “Handel Spectacular.”
Also in the winter, the year-long TALK OF THE TOWN Speakers Series got underway with “Cape Cod and the War of 1812.” The Sandwich Glass Museum generously provided a venue for the series at their Hirschmann Theater. Other presentations in the series included the “History of the Cape Cod Canal,” “Cape Architecture,” “Colonial Herb Gardens,” “Sandwich During the Civil War,” “Petticoats at Sea,” “Daring Sea Rescues,” “A Visit from Thornton Burgess,” “American Folk Art” and “Traditions of the Christmas Season.” All lectures were free to attend and were fully attended.
In April, with thousands of daffodils blooming all over Sandwich, a grand DAFFODIL FESTIVAL was held at Oak Crest Park. It was a fun, family way to celebrate Spring. There were food trucks, gardening tips, plant sales, music, local artists and a Kids Zone.
The next day, the internationally famed “Irish Tenor” RONAN TYNAN filled the Sandwich High School auditorium with his amazing voice to everyone’s astonishment and joy.
In May, Miles Standish arrived from Plimouth as part of the “1600s BASH” (Bringing Alive Sandwich History). The First Church of Christ held a Pilgrim Worship Service where participants wore period clothing. There was a Wampanoag Summer Camp across from Town Hall and the Quakers held an open house at Spring Hill. The famous Grist Mill was open and operated by its original owner Thomas Dexter (portrayed by descendant Doug Dexter). Rev. Smith was at The Hoxie House (his home in 1675) where the New Plimmoth Gard demonstrated a pike and militia drill and kids played 1600 period games on the lawn.
HERITAGE DAY was in June with a March of over 200 Descendants of the original families, a special Twinning Proclamation with Sandwich U.K., student songs and poems and a visit from the Ten Men of Saugus-the founders of our town. In the afternoon at the High School there was a cupcake competition judged by celebrities including Sandwich residents Connie Chung and Maury Povich. There was music, entertainment, Wally the Green Monster and a baseball game with the Bourne Braves of the Cape Cod Baseball League!
The June “BASH” day turned the town back into the 1700s with the British Red Coats coming to town and Sandwich Patriots erecting a Liberty Pole across from Town Hall. Minutemen camped out; there was cannon & gun firing; an historical “Geo-cache” scavenger hunt and, at Town Hall, Tories and Patriots fought it out in the play “The Body of the People.”
During the July 1800s BASH Civil War soldiers set up “Camp Chipman” at the Wing School and at Town Hall there was a moving re-enactment of the Commissioning of the Sandwich Guards with singing by the Cape Cod Chorale. A fabulous quilt show, wandering fiddlers, contra dancing, visits from Glass Factory founder Deming Jarves, Hannah Burgess (famous widow of a sea captain) and others completed the celebration.
At July’s SEAFEST there was something for everyone: the Coast Guard Cutter Tiger Shark, the high-tech Sandwich Fire Rescue boat, Shallop Elizabeth Tilley, the heroic Coast Guard Life Boat CG36500 and the pirate ship Formidable were open for tours at the Marina. There was an incredible art show hosted by the Artisans’ Guild of Cape Cod; a “Treasure Chest” of crafts, food and music; a kid’s tent; tour of the Coast Guard Station; a NAMA Seafood Throwdown and visits from sea captains of yesteryear. At night, an old-fashioned Clambake with dancing to the Moonlighters was held at Town Neck Beach.
WATER STREET WING FLING started off August with games, music, and shows; Lego land and inflatables entertained the kids. There were even Hot Air Balloons to ride! At night First Church was transformed into a magical Sandwich journey via PAINTSCAPING, the first ever 3D projection mapping on Cape Cod!
The Budweiser Clydesdales came to town in August, kicking off the 1900s BASH featuring a Cavalcade of Cars, tributes to local artist Dodge MacKnight and Sandwich’s own Dr. Beale. Judith Black performed “The Home Front,” capturing what it was like for a woman whose husband was away fighting in WWII. The day ended with a 1940s Block Party featuring the Cape Symphony Swing Band and the Snugtones.
The anniversary celebrations culminated with a GRAND PARADE the likes of which Sandwich has never seen before! There were 10 bands, classic cars, clowns, equestrian units and numerous floats and marching groups. One thousand marchers and 10,000 viewers!
At “First Night Sandwich” on New Years Eve of 2014, the year ended again with a bang, the boom of a canon over Shawme Pond. The lights on the Sandwich 375th Giant were extinguished and the 375th year of the Cape’s oldest town was history. But the biggest bang of all was the huge turnout of sponsors and over 500 volunteers who made this all possible. Thank You Sandwich!