A reenactment of the 1781 Raid on Middlesex Meetinghouse, an 18th-century battle skirmish, children’s musket drills, Colonial cooking and artisan demonstrations will be part of Darien’s Heritage Day, an all-day family event on Saturday, Oct. 23.
— an announcement from the Darien 200 Bicentennial Committee
The event will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at three local historical landmarks and will feature members of The Fifth Connecticut Regiment and the 15th Regiment of Foot.
“We are thrilled to bring this hands-on historical experience to Darien,” said Karen Boccadoro, a Darien resident who is a member of the Fifth’s board. Boccadoro has been a reenactor for over 15 years along with her husband, Carl. “It will be a day that will live in our memories for many years to come.”
The events and activities are being planned by the town’s 2020 Bicentennial
Committee and are coordinated by Boccadoro.
Volunteers will portray Patriot and Loyalist militia groups as they conduct
drills and skirmishes.
The highlight of the day will be the reenactment of the 1781 Raid of Middlesex Meetinghouse (today’s First Congregational Church of Darien). The raid reenactment is co-sponsored by the Darien Arts Center and directed by Carole Claps, a longtime Darien resident who has directed numerous theatrical performances throughout the region.
The festivities will kick off at 10:30 a.m. at the Museum of Darien, 45 Old
Kings Highway North (next to Goodwives Shopping Center), where members of the Fifth Connecticut Regiment, dressed in period costume, will conduct Colonial cooking and artisan demonstrations, and also mingle with the crowd to talk about life during the War.
Children’s musket drills will be held at 10:45 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Free refreshments will be provided by Palmer’s Market.
At 12:45 p.m., the crowd will be invited to stroll up the road (really, just around the corner) to The First Congregational Church of Darien, 14 Brookside Road, where a play recounting the 1781 Raid of Middlesex Meetinghouse will be performed by members of the 15th Regiment of Foot and local volunteer actors.
The re-enactment will take place outside of the church on the front steps.
The play was revised from the original 1980s work by Patricia Wall, the
former director of the Museum of Darien. It recounts the Tory raid on the
Meetinghouse when over 40 male members of the congregation were
kidnapped in a daring Sunday raid.
“We have a tremendously enthusiastic group who will portray the men and
women of Middlesex Parish who lived through this traumatic Revolutionary
event,” said Claps, who directed “Darien’s Got Talent” for the Darien Arts
Center and produced many Cabaret evenings and performances.
At 2:30 p.m., the day will continue to unfold at The Mather Homestead, 19 Stephen Mather Road, where the 1781 raid on the Mather Farm will be
reenacted. This drama will recount the moments when silver pieces were
discovered by Tory raiders in the well of the Homestead.
The day will be capped by a military drill, cannon firing and an exciting
demonstration of a skirmish between British and Colonial troops in the fields
adjacent to the Homestead.
“This has been a tremendous, multi-year effort by a group of very committed
volunteers who kept working throughout the pandemic to deliver these
memorable Darien Bicentennial events,” said Al Miller, chairman of the
town’s 2020 Bicentennial Committee.
To donate to the town’s Bicentennial Celebration, please write a check to
Town of Darien, and include “2020 Bicentennial” in the memo line of the
Checks may be mailed to Darien Town Hall, 2 Renshaw Road, Darien,
CT 06820 and include ATTN: 2020 Bicentennial on the envelope.
For More Information
If You’re Going …
WHEN & WHERE: The event will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (with a rain date the next day: Sunday, Oct. 24).
PARKING will be available near the Museum at 85 Old Kings Hwy. North and on site at The Mather Homestead. Darien police will be on site at all locations to direct traffic.
For everyone’s safety, organizers ask that all participants comply with current
state and local COVID-19 guidelines.
COST: The celebration is free (donations are welcome, see above).
Commemorative Bicentennial merchandise will be sold at the events. Cash
and checks accepted only. For more information on Bicentennial
merchandise, email Darien200Merch@gmail.com.
Thanks to …
A special thank you to Palmer’s Market for generously donating the
refreshments for Heritage Day and to the Official 2020 Bicentennial Sponsors
for their generosity and continued support.
Platinum Benefactor — The Darien Foundation
Diamond — The Town of Darien
Gold — Crestwood Advisors, Baywater Properties, DR Bank, Hollow Tree Self
Storage, The Waters Edge at Giovanni’s, William Raveis Real Estate,
Mortgage & Insurance
Silver — Neil Hauck Architects, Rand Insurance
Bronze — Barrett Bookstore, Cross Private Client Insurance, Darien Board of
Exclusive Magazine Sponsor — New Canaan-Darien Magazine