Getting Into the Bicentennial Spirit
If you’ve spent any time in Manchester over the past few months, you may have noticed some celebratory rumblings spreading throughout town. From the banners lining the walls of municipal buildings to the commemorative gear donned by dozens throughout town, 2023 officially marks the Town of Manchester’s Bicentennial Celebration.
While the town itself is certainly in the Bicentennial spirit, an important question is: are you?
Not in the spirit yet? Well, no need to worry! The Town of Manchester and its diverse slate of community brand partners has you covered with their upcoming slate of community programs & special events. The official Bicentennial Event Schedule will be posted in April & will cover events from May-December. However, celebratory programs have already begun (as early as January 1st), and they provide the perfect opportunity for anyone looking to dive into this year’s celebration.
For those looking to have their event, celebration or special program listed on the digital Calendar of Events, please submit the digital Bicentennial Partner Form.
One feature program of the early portions of this year’s celebration, 23 Walks with the Town Historian Susan Barlow, looks to celebrate the Bicentennial in wholly unique ways. With walks starting on the first day of the new year & running all the way through late November, this series hopes to introduce locals to historical trails & walkways, further exploring the evolution of the Manchester community, landscape and culture.
“Learn about Manchester’s history during our 200th-birthday year by participating in free history walks. Special reward for those who attend at least 10 of the 23 walking tours — receive a Bicentennial coin (first 200 winners),” the guide reads.
Click here to view the 23 Walks guide, which contains the walk schedule and detailed historical information on each location.
Another program that is already embracing the Bicentennial spirit is the Spruce Street and Northwest Park Farmers Market. Now in its seventh summer season, Market Coordinator Cynde Acanto remains excited to celebrate the spirit of Manchester’s Bicentennial, all while maintaining the market’s mission of serving as a source for healthy, local & low-cost produce and prepared food items.
“The Town of Manchester’s official farmers markets, the Spruce Street and Northwest Park Farmers Markets, love to celebrate all things Manchester!” Acanto said.
This year, each weekly market will have a theme, ranging from Picnic Day to Pride Day to much more. One of the many weekly highlights includes Manchester Day at the Spruce Street Farmers Market (June 28, 4:30 PM – 7:30 PM at Market Field, 150 Spruce Street), the market’s official Bicentennial-focused event. From the food & artisanal vendors to a meet-and-greet with many Town of Manchester departments (and even a special giveaway!), this market is the perfect opportunity to get into the Bicentennial spirit.
“As a Bicentennial partner, we look forward to offering a weekly Wednesday farmers market, which will provide residents and visitors with the opportunity to shop with local farms, prepared food vendors and artisans – many based in Manchester,” Acanto said.
For more information regarding the summer farmers market series, please visit the Spruce Street Farmers Market Facebook page or contact the Neighborhoods & Families Division at (860)647-3089.
Elsewhere in town, the commitment to the Bicentennial continues to ring true, especially in places such as WORK_SPACE. WORK_SPACE, which houses an art gallery, meeting spaces & creative commons, looks to honor the past, present & future of Manchester through uniquely-artistic means.
“Although we are only 5 years old, WORK_SPACE feels stepped in the town’s history and very much part of its future,” WORK_SPACE Manager Stacey said.
With programming including curated art exhibitions, 2nd Saturday Open Houses & much more, Work_Space aims to “highlight and celebrate Manchester and the people that live, work, and visit.” Follow along on social media (@workspacemanch) to see the current event listings, information on WORK_SPACE’s monthly newsletter & facility rental information.
For those looking for partner events in the short-term future, upcoming events and programs include, but are not limited to:
23 Walks with the Town Historian
Learn more about Manchester’s history during our 200th Birthday year by participating in free history walks. Special reward for those who attend at least 10 of the 23 walking tours.
- Date: Sat, 03/18/23 @ 1:00 PM
- Location: Hollywood Plaza, 283 E. Center Street
- Fee: No fee
300 Years of Manchester: The Future
The FUTURE Exhibit is part of a three-venue art show called 300 Years of Manchester: PAST-PRESENT-FUTURE. The Manchester Historical Society is curating the first 100 years, the Lutz Children’s Museum will be showcasing the work of students from Manchester Public Schools, and the Galleries @ WORK_SPACE are asking New England artists (ages 11-111 and any medium) to envision the next 100 years in Manchester. Submissions due March 27th.
- Date: Exhibit runs 4/7-5/31
- Location: Galleries @ WORK_SPACE, 903 Main Street
- Fee: No fee
300 Years of Manchester: The Present
Artists Attending a Manchester Public Elementary School will have their work collected at their home school for display.
- Date: Exhibit runs 4/18-5/23
- Location: Lutz Children’s Museum, 247 South Main Street
- Fee: No fee
The Future of Magic
Be dazzled by live magic in our Main Street Gallery as Manchester resident and winner of Connecticut’s Got Talent 2019, Koby Hildebrand, puts a new twist on traditional magic. A regular in Las Vegas with over 700k followers on social media, Koby doesn’t use special effects and relies on his talent, humor, and some technically-proficient tricks to entertain.
- Date: Sat, 04/22/23, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
- Location: WORK_SPACE, 903 Main Street
- Age: 18+
- Fee: $24 per ticket; WORK_SPACE members get $5 off. RSVP at: https://bit.ly/FutureOfMagic
Rebuilding Together of Manchester
We work with low-income homeowners to make their homes warmer, safer and drier. The services we provide help to stabilize affordable home ownership and help seniors age in place. We pride ourselves as an organization that encourages neighbors helping neighbors.
- Date: Sat, 04/29/23
- Location: Throughout the Town of Manchester.
- Fee: No fee. Visit rebuildingmanchester.org for further information.
In-person events or programs not in your wheelhouse? Don’t fret – there are a variety of other ways to show your local spirit & become involved in the Town of Manchester’s Bicentennial Celebration. Whether it is by repping the official Bicentennial swag, preserving your story through History Chip or becoming an event volunteer, all are welcomed to participate in whatever means best fits their interests and availability.
No matter your avenue of involvement, the Town of Manchester’s Bicentennial Celebration is for all. From the young to the old, the Manchester lifers to those spending their first spring in town, all are welcome to show their local pride and to reflect the spirit, tenacity, and inclusivity of this year-long celebration.
For further information on the Town of Manchester’s Bicentennial Celebration, please click here.