Hampton celebrates 375th birthday bash

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By Lisa Tetrault-Zhe

Hampton Union, August 13, 2013

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

375th Re-enactors
Historic re-enactors fire the final shot at the closing ceremony at
Hampton's 375th anniversary celebration [Brian Ward photo]

HAMPTON — Hampton residents celebrated their town's 375th anniversary in style on Saturday with an eclectic mix of live music, fine dining, a bouncy house and a historic reenactment of the Civil and Revolutionary wars.

The sun shone brightly on Tuck Field as residents, former residents and tourists alike ate, danced and learned about the history of the Seacoast town.

"Town Manager Fred Welch asked me back in March to get something together for the anniversary celebration," said Dick Desrosiers, chairman of the Hampton 375th Commission. "In 2011, we were already preparing. The town passed a warrant article to create the commission, and set aside $20,000 towards the event."

According to the Hampton Historical Society, the town was first inhabited by English Puritans from Massachusetts, established as Winnacunnet in 1638. A year later, Rev. Stephen Bachiler founded the Congregational Church of Hampton and brought many followers with him.

Some 375 years later, the town has become a vibrant tourist area, particularly in the summer, when people flock to Hampton Beach.

Desrosiers said he was proud of the way the celebration came together.

"Today is just great, seeing all these people here," he said. "Our group was superb; they had a lot of imagination to pull it all together. We tried to offer something for everyone. The biggest challenge was deciding what not to do. We thought about a petting zoo and a horse pull, but didn't want to destroy the fields."

Several local restaurants set up booths to give people a taste of their menus. Desrosiers said they weren't charging for booth space, but asked if the groups made a profit to give a portion to the committee to offset the cost of the event. They were also selling memorabilia to raise some funds.

The event, which lasted all weekend, kicked off Friday night with a ham and bean supper hosted by the Methodist Church. Desrosiers said he was pleasantly surprised that, despite the rain, 150 people turned out for the evening.

In addition to the vendors, the committee also relied on volunteers to help the day go smoothly.

"My Boy Scout troop is here to provide service for the 375th anniversary celebration," said Douglas Aykroyd, a Hampton resident. "We're helping to set up and helping keep it tidy. I'm pleased this celebration was done, because with everything that goes on in daily life, it's easy to forget about the history of Hampton. Its history is different from the rest of New Hampshire; it sets us apart."

Kids had the chance to go down an inflatable slide, as well as try out the Euro-Bungee, an acrobatic ride. Both children and adults were fastened into harnesses, and then strapped on with elastics that helped them bounce.

There was also a dunk tank, a baseball game between Hampton Police and Hampton Fire departments, a racetrack ride, historic games, an antique car show, Civil and Revolutionary war drills and an aerial photo of the number 375, during which people were asked to stand on the number painted on the field in white for the picture.

One Hampton resident, attending the festivities with his aunt and uncle, said he was excited to try out the carnival area.

"The bouncy house slide is my favorite part so far," said 8-year-old Jackson Willis of Hampton.

The event wrapped up on Sunday afternoon with a dedication ceremony honoring former Hampton resident Goody Cole, who was tried for witchcraft three times prior to her death in 1680. Despite a proclamation in 1938 that she was innocent, her grave was never marked. The memorial plaque was placed near the Tuck Museum.

Jay Ring
Hampton resident Jay Ring
demonstrates his 1885 Columbia
bicycle, which he learned to
ride in high school
[Lisa Tetrault-Zhe photo]

Thanks to all who helped with Hampton's 375th

August 27, 2013

To the Editor:

Hampton's 375 celebration is now behind us. I would like to thank all the people who helped put on this wonderful event. It was not done by just one person, or even one commission, it took the help of the entire community, with many people and various groups, spending countless hours to make sure there was enough "stuff" to do.

Thank you to all the vendors, local restaurants and the non-profit organizations that had not only great selections of food and crafts, but were also able to showcase their local business, organization, or cause. (Some not even covering their costs to participate but did so to support our town.)

To René from Hampton's Recreation and Parks Department and to Frank from Hampton's DPW, thank you to you and the employees that helped you, not only during the weekend, but the week before and then the clean up afterwards. It would not have been a great success without you.

Thanks to the Hampton Public Works, Fire, & Police departments for working with us on safety and security issues. To the Hampton Historical Society and all of their wonderful activities they put on over the weekend. Candy, Betty, and Ben plus all of your members and friends, thank you.

Thanks to Hampton DPW's own Mark Richardson for his help in getting the Civil War Re-enactors.

Thanks to Tracy Dewhurst and her staff at the Victoria Inn for taking on the task of the Beer Tent.

Thanks to Dyana Martin and the entire Hampton Recreation and Parks Department for not only the game, rides, and events you planned, but for your help in the entire operations of Tuck Field, Eaton Park and its buildings.

To everyone who volunteered including Boy Scout Troop 177, Experience Hampton LLC., Hampton Little Warriors, the Hampton Village Preschool, the Hampton Community Coalition and Tammy Whalen, the Lane Memorial Library, the Hampton Garden Club, and the Hampton Area Lions Club and just plain citizens like Melanie Spainhower, to name just a few, thank you.

To every business, organization, like the Hampton Rotary Club, Marelli's Market and Tobey and Merrill Insurance, and citizens who donated time, money, or product to put this event on, thank you very much.

Lastly to the Hampton 375 Commission, thank you for your work, not only the long hours of planning that went into to this historic event, but the work that you did over the weekend.

Guess all I have left to say is the people of Hampton had a great 375 celebration. What will the 400 look like?

Hampton is a great place to live, shop, work, and play Please continue to support our local businesses and events, if you do that we all win.

Rusty Bridle

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