Darien Gets ‘Birthday Cake’ Float, Bicentennial Opening Ceremony Scheduled for Jan 10

Cake float in all its glory

The cake float that the Town of Salem generously donated to the Town of Darien for its 200th Bicentennial Celebration.

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To help with Darien’s 200th anniversary celebrations next year, the Salem town government has given Darien a 10-foot cake float it used in its own anniversary celebration, and it just arrived Monday.

Amid monumental murals depicting key events from Darien’s history, the town will kick off its 200th birthday year with a Bicentennial Opening Ceremony on Friday, Jan. 10.

— an announcement from the Darien Bicentennial Committee

The ‘Cake’

Cake float in all its glory

The cake float that the Town of Salem generously donated to the Town of Darien for its 200th Bicentennial Celebration.

The Salem, Connecticut cake float was brought to Darien by staff from the town’s Parks and Recreation Department on Monday.

Hollow Tree Self Storage, a Bicentennial Gold Sponsor, generously donated a storage unit for the float, and it is being stored there.

Salem celebrated its bicentennial in 2019. The float will be outfitted with new banners with the town’s name and the official 2020 Bicentennial Logo.

Team that brought the cake float

Contributed photo

Standing in front of the deconstructed float from left: Sandy Rich of Darien Parks and Recreation, Al Miller, chairman of the town’s 2020 Bicentennial Committee, Jim Flynn of Darien Parks and Recreation and Maria F. Hernandez, manager of Hollow Tree Self Storage.

The Ceremony

The Bicentennial Opening Ceremony will be held in the Town Hall Auditorium, 2 Renshaw Road. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the presentation begins at 7 p.m. (Snow date: Jan. 11 at 2 p.m.)

The event will include special guest presentations, including performances by Darien High School’s Tudor Singers, and a keynote address by Darien’s Scott Pelley, award-winning correspondent with 60 Minutes and author of Truth Worth Telling: A Reporter’s Search for Meaning in the Stories of our Times.

“We are inviting the entire community to mark the beginning of a very special year for Darien. Our town’s 200th birthday will be a time to celebrate everything that is truly special about this community,” said First Selectman Jayme Stevenson.

The Opening Ceremony is free and open to the public. No registration is required, and seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

When doors open at Town Hall at 6:30 p.m., a slideshow presentation will feature old photographs from the collection of the Darien Historical Society and the Tudor Singers will perform special selections.

Members of Scouts BSA Troop 53 will open the formal program at 7 p.m. with the presentation of the colors.

Al Miller, chairman of the town’s 2020 Bicentennial Committee, will deliver opening remarks and First Selectman Stevenson will present a welcoming address.

“This celebration is all about getting the community fired up with hometown pride,” said Miller. “Set against the backdrop of the WPA murals depicting momentous events from our town’s history, the auditorium at Town Hall is the perfect venue.”

The highlight of the evening will be a presentation by Pelley, best known for his work on 60 Minutes and as anchor and managing editor of CBS Evening News. Pelley will discuss his inspiring new memoir, Truth Worth Telling, a book that brings readers to the front lines of history by chronicling the stories of those who have lived through recent historic events.

During the Opening Ceremony, Pelley will share his thoughts on free speech and freedom of the press, and how poignant and unforgettable stories of today become the history of tomorrow.

Bring Money

Following the Opening Ceremony, there will be a book sale and signing with Pelley, arranged by Barrett Bookstore. Also, 2020 merchandise featuring the official Bicentennial 2020 logo (hats and t-shirts) will be available to purchase.

Both the 2020 Bicentennial logo and the merchandise were designed by Darien High School students.

All 2020 commemorative items cost $20 each and may be purchased with either cash or check. Proceeds benefit the town’s 2020 celebrations.

Nearly 80 percent of the anticipated expenses for the town’s 2020 expenses will be raised through private donations, according to Miller.

To sponsor or donate, please mail check to Town of Darien, and include “2020 Bicentennial” in the memo line of the check. Checks may be mailed to Darien Town Hall, 2 Renshaw Road, Darien, CT 06820 and include ATT: 2020 Bicentennial on the envelope.


Following the Opening Ceremony, there will be a ticketed Bicentennial Reception hosted at the Darien Arts Center, co-sponsored by the Darien Historical Society.

Wine, refreshments and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Palmer’s Market will cater the event and wine will be supplied by Sipstirs.

Tickets are limited, and cost $45 if purchased in advance and $50 if purchased at the door. Please visit www.darienarts.org for information and to purchase tickets.

Darien 2020 Bicentennial Events:

  • Bicentennial Opening Ceremony — Friday, Jan. 10. Doors Open: 6:30 p.m. | Program: 7 p.m. Town Hall Auditorium, 2 Renshaw Road Snow Date — Jan. 11 at 2 p.m.
  • Weed Beach Festival’s Bicentennial Bash — Saturday, June 6
  • Anniversary Day — Friday, June 12 at 6 p.m. Slawson Cemetery,
  • Hanson Road Heritage Day Celebration  — Oct. 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Darien Historical Society & Mather Homestead Featuring: The Fifth Connecticut Regiment


Darien’s 2020 Bicentennial Committee wishes to thank its First Official 2020 Sponsors:

Platinum Benefactor: A special thank you to The Darien Foundation for the $32,000 Leadership Grant to fund the Darien Heritage Trail

Gold Sponsors: Baywater Properties Crestwood Advisors DR Bank Hollow Tree Self Storage The Waters Edge at Giovanni’s

Silver Sponsor: RAND Insurance

Bronze Sponsors: Barrett Bookstore Brown Thayer Shedd Insurance Agency

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