Sprague gears up for sesquicentennial celebration

By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Sprague - posted Sat., Mar. 12, 2011
Magnets bearing the town of Sprague's 150th anniversary logo are available for sale at Town Hall. The logo was designed by a local artist. - Contributed Photo

As a nod to how much has changed over the course of the town of Sprague’s 150 years of history, residents can use the Internet to keep up with what’s on the town’s agenda to mark its anniversary this summer.

The sesquicentennial celebration is planned for the weekend of July 28-31, but town officials are already gearing up with fund raising activities. Senior center director Buddy Meadows said that Sprague’s summer calendar of events can be accessed on twitter@Sprague150th or on the website www.sprague150.org.  A Facebook site is in process, too, he said.

Townspeople can also spread the word by buying a Sprague 150th anniversary magnet to display on their cars. The magnets cost $3 and are available at town hall; all proceeds will help fund the town’s “birthday party.”

First up on the calendar is a benefit dinner concert to raise funds for the summer’s festival. “Irish pub night” with singer Andy Cooney will take place on Saturday, April 16, at 6 p.m., at the Sprague Rod and Gun Club. Cooney has performed at Carnegie Hall and with the Irish Symphony Orchestra, and was termed “Irish America’s favorite son” by the New York Times.  A traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner will be served. Tickets for this event are $35 and can be obtained by calling 860-822-6429.

The Rod and Gun Club will also host a fund raising chicken barbecue on June 25, with activities for the whole family.

The focal point of the town’s festivities is the last weekend in July. From Friday through Sunday, an 18th-century period encampment by the Quoketaug Rangers historical re-enactment group will occupy River Park. The group will demonstrate such period skills as blacksmithing and open-fire cooking. Visitors will be welcome to visit, watch, ask questions and learn about life in colonial times.

Children’s “fun and games” will be conducted throughout the weekend, sponsored by the Sprague Community Center and supervised by former principal Brenda Keefe. There will be amusement rides, the Baltic Fire Department will provide food, and vendors will sell their wares. Meadows said that vendors won’t be charged for table space. “We’re not out to make a lot of money,” said Meadows. “This is a celebration.”

Among the performers scheduled to appear are: the Red Light Band, specializing in ‘80s music, playing on Friday; a fifties dance with karaoke, also on Friday; Noodles the Clown on Saturday; the Silver Hammer Band, a local teen ensemble; and the Kick Back Duo on Sunday. There will be a fireworks display on Saturday, July 30, with a rain date of Sunday.  

A triathlon will also be held during the weekend, and there will be a pageant on Saturday to choose and crown the Queen of the Town of Sprague.

Meadows said that an update of the town’s history is being discussed, as a supplement to the book compiled by Dennis Delaney in 1986 for the 125th anniversary. In addition, the library is producing a commemorative cookbook, he said.

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