Ideas are flowing for 350th Anniversary

WESTFIELD – At Monday’s meeting of the 350th Anniversary Committee, members reviewed a sub-committee structure proposed by leaders Amber Danahey, community outreach coordinator and Peter J. Miller, community development director for the City of Westfield. The committee is making plans for the May 2019 350th anniversary of the city’s incorporation on May 19, 1669.

Among those involved in planning for Westfield's 350th Anniversary in 2019 are Harry Rock, Ken Stomski, Marion and Jay Pagluica, Cindy Gaylord and Danny Nason. (Photo by Amy Porter)

Among those involved in planning for Westfield’s 350th Anniversary in 2019 are Harry Rock, Ken Stomski, Marion and Jay Pagluica, Cindy Gaylord and Danny Nason. (Photo by Amy Porter)

Members present at the meeting, besides Danahey and Miller, included Ken Stomski, Paula Ceglowski, Vanessa Diana, Cindy Gaylord, Mary O’Connell, Danny Nason, Jay and Marion Pagluica, Candy Pennington, Harry Rock, Bernie Rosenblum, Diane Snyder, and Patrick Berry.
Previously, a survey was done to garner ideas from the community for appropriate ways to mark the anniversary. Danahey said that she and Miller felt the need to get sub-committees going on some of the ideas.
“We’re looking to people in the room to take ownership of it. We want to rely on the people in this group to recruit those people who can get into the nitty-gritty details of planning,” Miller said.
Proposed sub-committees include development, signature events, marketing and communications, special projects, existing events, finance, outreach and historical.
Danahey said that the city will sponsor the two signature events, the 350th celebration parade and the 350th fireworks, plans for which are still being discussed. Some ideas have included holding the parade along a Historical route in the city.
Miller said the 350th Celebration Parade would not replace the Memorial Day parade, which Rock said has itself become a signature event.
Rosenblum suggested asking the state to hold a sports championship in Westfield in 2019 as a part of the celebration, giving hockey as an example.
Berry said that it would be necessary to start the conversations with athletic directors now to get any high school state championships in Westfield just for that year.
Miller and Danahey said the first committee that needs to get up and running is outreach, which will be key in coordinating communication with different groups and volunteers that want to participate. Danahey said that outreach could initiate letters to various groups, asking them how they would like to participate in the celebration.
Miller said they also want to do an evening outreach event for the public.
“There’s a lot more people than are sitting in this room that are thinking about it,” Miller said.
“You’ve got me for music and entertainment,” Pagluica volunteered.
Danahey said that once things get going, they plan to leverage Kenny (Stomski) to blast information out on social media.
Stomski said that he has also been thinking of a 350th website, because not all people are on Facebook. He said it couldn’t be undertaken without artwork or logos.
Danahey said that maybe the city could host the page on their website. Miller said he would talk to Lenore Bernashe, the city’s information technology manager, about setting that up.

Westfield's community outreach coordinator Amber Danahey (left) fields ideas from the 350th Anniversary Committee on Monday.

Westfield’s community outreach coordinator Amber Danahey (left) fields ideas from the 350th Anniversary Committee on Monday.

Danahey also said she has reached out to Westfield State University about creating a logo, and received several from students, which she said were “a great start.”
Miller asked if there was a color palette that would be more appropriate for the 350th anniversary.
Mary O’Connell noted that the city’s colors are red and black, but also said she has noticed the new website’s colors are green and blue.
“It’s time to do something that stands out,” Rock said. He said the anniversary is short term, so the colors can be upbeat and trendy.
Several people echoed that the colors should be celebratory, and Danahey asked whether gold, silver or metallic would be appropriate.
Vanessa Diana asked if they would like volunteers. She said that Westfield State University holds a fundraising gala every spring, which might be able to be incorporated into planning.
Diane Snyder asked if there was any interest in a Native American event. She said that she knows of a musician and storyteller that might be interested in participating. She also said she felt it was important to tie in the story of how the native people lost the land and the origins of the city. She said she’s interested in bringing out the “We” in Westfield with stories about the people. Pagluica suggested Snyder contact Articulture to discuss holding a program.
Danahey said there were a lot of good ideas at the meeting, and asked people to take home the sub-committee structure, and sign up in areas that interest them. She also suggested emailing her ([email protected]) and Miller ([email protected]) with ideas and additions to the events calendar for the year. The next meeting was set for March 27.

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