As the sun beamed down on Wellesley residents this past weekend, crowds of adults and children enjoyed the warm weather and festivities that were part of the 17th annual Wellesley’s Wonderful Weekend. Events included the Hunnewell Fun Fair on Friday, Pancake Festival on Saturday, and the popular Veterans’ Parade and fireworks on Sunday.
“Volunteer residents of Wellesley organize, market, and advertise this event for Wellesley residents and guests,” said Mr. Pete Jones, the Wellesley Celebrations Committee treasurer. The tradition of having this weekend of festivities first began 47 years ago to honor veterans “who paid the ultimate price to give us the freedoms we enjoy today,” said Jones. “17 years ago, the Wellesley Celebrations Committee decided to move the parade to the spring because of the better weather, and expand the program to include open house events put on by the individual town departments in order to introduce the town residents to all the town departments and services they provide to the residents of Wellesley.”
Each year, a theme of the Weekend is selected by the Wellesley Celebrations Committee with suggests offered by town residents. This year’s theme was the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. Past themes have included the 200th Anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner, the 60th Anniversary of the end of the Korean War, Wellesley Celebrates Education, and Wellesley Recycles.
According to Jones, one of the rewards of holding a town-wide celebration is being able to share an event with the entire town. “The weekend helps re-energize community spirit by having residents and town departments join together to build events that benefit the community as a whole. [However], the challenges are many, and the steadily increasing number of events requires many more volunteers to support the weekend celebration,” he said.
One of the popular events over the weekend was the Picnic in the Park that took place at Hunnewell Field on Sunday night and included a concert featuring the Reminisants, one of Boston’s oldies bands, specializing in music from the 1950’s to the 1990’s.
After the concert came fireworks, and both adults and children appreciated the show. Abby Yuan ’17 has attended the fireworks every year since she was in fifth grade and always delights in watching them with family and friends. This year, she said, “I attended the fireworks with my friends and got some food and walked around. I enjoyed [the fireworks] because the majority of Wellesley [was there] and it was a really nice atmosphere.”
Not only did students attend the weekend festivities for fun, but many of them volunteered at booths and activities. Matthew Tom ’16 volunteered at the Pancake Breakfast on Saturday: “Through the teen sect of the rotary club, Interact, I helped pop and sell popcorn throughout the morning to families at the breakfast. For me, I enjoyed volunteering at the breakfast because I could interact with people in the community who I wouldn’t normally see on a daily basis.” Tom added, “I always love the pancake breakfast just in terms of watching the ever growing diversity of the families in Wellesley come together and socialize with one another.”
Over the years, according to Jones, the Celebrations Committee has made a variety of changes regarding the Weekend’s festivities, particularly “the constant expansion of the number of events held each year,” he said. “New and interesting events are what the Wellesley Celebrations Committee looks for each year – new events like Raptors, Goats and You at the North 40 Forest and Gardens Area, to new innovations in sustainability at the Sustainable Living Festival, with the help of our WHS Green Team and the Municipal Light Plant.”
(Noor Pirani ’15, Editor-in-Chief)