|By Katelyn Gendron|
Reminder Assistant Editor
WESTFIELD -- Today's Westfield is not the city of yesteryear -- founded as a farming community and the westernmost settlement in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 1600s. Four hundred years later, many in this city are no longer growing crops but they do channel the livelihoods of their forefathers by celebrating the fall harvest.
Westfield on Weekends (WOW) will celebrate Colonial Harvest Day on Sept. 26 with a variety of activities from the Athenaeum to Lydia's Gathering Place on Court Street, which acknowledges its rich history.
"It's all about celebrating what's unique about Westfield," Christopher Lindquist, co-chair of Colonial Harvest Day, said. He added that this year's calendar includes performances by the Pioneer Valley Fiddlers, Woodford Way and the Bluelights.
He noted that a new contest this year for "Celebrity Town Criers" will take place from 12:15 to 1 p.m., which invites local celebrities to "do their best to tell the news of the day, like a town crier would have" in colonial times.
"I just think it's going to be grand," Pamela Leigh, co-chair of Colonial Harvest Day, said. She added that more events have been added this year to promote diverse, family-friendly entertainment.
Bob Plasse, president of WOW, noted that the Colonial Harvest Day Committee has labored over its calendar of events for over a year.
New this year will be a live enactment by local actors of Kay Winters' children's book "Colonial Voices: Hear Them Speak."
"I was a teacher [before becoming a full-time author] and what I loved best about teaching was reading books to children," Winters said. "That's what I still love about being an author ... reading to children and seeing their faces light up."
Other events at this year's Colonial Harvest Day include a colonial craft demonstrators at Lydia's Gathering Place; a Colonial Harvest dinner at the First Congregational Church; hay wagon rides; a performance of "The Courage of Sarah Noble" by the Westfield Theatre Group; a Scarecrow Trail Contest; and a Revolutionary War encampment by re-enactors of the 25th Continental Regiment.
Sections of Court and Elm streets will be closed during Colonial Harvest Day but free parking will be available at Berkshire Bank and City Hall.
Colonial Harvest Day will take place on Sept. 26 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with a rain date of Sept. 27.
For a full calendar of events for Colonial Harvest Day, visit www.westfieldonweekends.org.
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