Smithtown has been celebrating its 350th anniversary through many celebrations and events this year, and there are still several more to come.
Bradley Harris, town historian, formed the Smithtown 350 Foundation committee almost two years ago. “I wrote a letter to Supervisor [Pat] Vecchio that the town should plan significant events to inform the residents of the history of Smithtown on its 350th anniversary,” Harris said in a phone interview.
Harris said Vecchio (R) then decided to have Harris form a committee specific to planning events for the anniversary.
“My objective is to try and make an exciting year to remember, that will make people more familiar with the town they live in,” Harris said in a phone interview.
The first event the 350 committee held was The People of Smithtown, where author and historian Noel Gish presented a program on the cultural heritage ethnic peopling of Smithtown, pulling from history, personal photographs and recollections.
In March a special town board meeting was held where board members, while wearing colonial garb, read the original patent for Smithtown in old English. Harris said it was “very funny.” At the meeting, a time capsule that was buried 50 years ago was opened up. The time capsule itself was an old milk can, and Harris said the smell “bowled everyone over.”
Inside were items such as an old telephone book and pennies from the 1950s and ’60s. The committee plans to bury a new time capsule sometime in November. Inside the new one will be a video of this year’s parade, as well as a video of the parade in 1965 to show contrast.
This past summer there have been concert series, heritage festivals, theatrical productions and more. The dedication of the statue of Richard Smythe will be held this Saturday, Sept. 19, at 10:30 a.m., which will be followed by a fireworks celebration later that night at 6:30 p.m. at Sunken Meadow State Park. The 350th parade is still to come in later September.
The Smithtown Historical Society has also been hosting many events to celebrate Smithtown’s anniversary.
The Heritage Country Fair is the society’s next big celebration.
This Sunday, Sept. 20, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. the society will host an old-fashioned fall festival, which will include an 1860s baseball team, antique cars and trucks, Civil War reenactors, pony rides and hayrides, according to Marianne Howard, SHS executive director. “It should be a great time,” she said.
There will also be a series of four fall harvest lectures, from late October to early November.
The first will focus on historic haunts and ghost legends, the second on Long Island’s involvement in the Civil War, the third on tales from a general store and the final on songs from 18th-century America.
The last event to celebrate Smithtown’s 350th anniversary, the Heritage Country Christmas, will be hosted by the historical society. It will feature a bonfire, caroling, a puppet show, colonial and contemporary Christmas music, children’s crafts and a visit from Santa. The event will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 1.
“I hope by the end of this year that the residents of Smithtown will have a greater appreciation and greater knowledge of their town,” Harris said.