Thurman Bicentennial Birthday Bash
Thurman’s 1992 bicentennial celebration was spread out over a year, with local resident Joan Harris coordinating, at the request of Supervisor Edwin Baker. Harris, postmaster in Athol at that time, was in an ideal position to do this job. As patrons came in to pick up their mail or buy stamps, she pounced. “How’d you like to be on the bicentennial committee?” she’d ask. “You could chair the beautification sub-committee!” Before long she had a dozen or more subcommittees, each planning one part of what came to be called the “Thurman Bicentennial Birthday Bash”, to be kicked off on April 10, the date the town was created by legislature in 1792), and concluded with a grand finale the weekend of September 14. In a year of remembering the past with such traditional events as the fire company barbecue, 1992 also was a year of “firsts.” To the best of anyone’s recollection, it was the first time the town had planned a fireworks display, the first time there had been pig races in town, the first time group of guests had pilgrimaged from our sister town of Athol, MA, the first time Thurman had received a letter of regrets from the Scottish Duke of Athol, explaining his inability to attend. First cachet, first postal cancellation, first concert by an Elvis impersonator; It may have been the first time that Thurman caps, T-shirts, sweatshirts and flyswatters — all bearing the first town logo with slogan “Where Nature is a Way of Life” – were sold.
At the April 10th bicentennial kick-off event, a committee composed of Roseanne LaFarr, Mae Rozell and June Germain presented the town with the book of local history they had created for the bicentennial, Looking Forward to the Future While Cherishing the Past. On that same date a cookbook, chock full of local recipes, had been prepared by Jean Reynolds and her committee. A handsome patchwork quilt had been created, with family squares made by members of the community. There were so many, that, in addition to the large quilt itself, nicely framed, the committee needed to create a smaller hanging of patches that were turned in after the deadline. At four main entrances to town, large wooden signs were erected bearing the town logo and the message: “Welcome to Thurman, Est. 1792”.
The enormous success of the Thurman Bicentennial has been credited to the efforts of a committee of many people working cooperatively on various facets of the same large event. It revived community pride and an interest in local history, and has been credited with sparking the interest that resurrected the historical society.
We look forward to seeing what the next two hundred years holds in store.
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