Plans for Nutfield Tricentennial Celebration Coming into Focus

The upcoming 2019 year marks a notable, historic 300th anniversary milestone for the NH towns of Derry, Londonderry, Windham, and a section of Manchester – Derryfield. 
The first European Scots-Irish settlers arrived at these NH towns in the early 1700’s and they found a large tract of land covered with chestnut, oak, and similar trees, so they this called this area “Nutfield.”  There is a yearlong celebration in the works to commemorate Nutfield’s past while preserving this history for the future. 
The key milestone considered as the founding of Nutfield occurred when the original First Parish Church in the East Derry Area was established in 1719 by the new settlers with their leader Reverend James McGregor; the settlers built a meeting house for their church that year. That original structure was replaced with a stronger timber frame meeting house in 1769, and a tower steeple was added on in 1824. That revered meeting house that represents the founding of Nutfield is now undergoing careful renovations for the upcoming 2019 celebrations.  

Perhaps the most complex renovation work involves the steeple of the 250-year-old building, though work is on track for completion by the April 2019 Nutfield Founders Weekend kickoff in Derry.  The steeple rebuilding is being done by Preservation Timber Framing. 
The groundwork for the celebration was started over the past several years. The Derry Heritage Commission kicked off a subcommittee in 2018, lead by Commission Chair Karen Blandford-Anderson along with Derry Heritage Commission member and organizer, Paul Lindemann. The towns that comprised Nutfield, have been working together to coordinate events logistics and activities. The Nutfield Steering Committee has representatives from Derry, Londonderry and Windham, and a person from Derryfield (Manchester). Steering committee meetings  as well town commission meetings have been set up to coordinate actions, events, and logistics across all towns involved in the celebration.
Londonderry’s 300th Anniversary Committee is Chaired by Town Manager, Kevin Smith who along with Alan Rugg have conducted meetings focused on activities with other committee members. Victoria Gorveatt representing the Londonderry Heritage Commission has recently joined the meetings to help with the town’s legacy coordination.
Film crews from the BBC and Northern Ireland, looking at their ancestral ties have spent time in the area over the past year to capture Nutfield stories and begin their alliance support for the Tricentennial Celebration.
Events and actions are still in slightly dynamic planning stages though the celebration being planned is evolving quickly now as 2019 event dates are approaching.  At this time, events from each of the 4 town areas of Nutfield are being planned and here is an overview.  
Derry: Founders Day weekend, April 12 to 14, 2019 is the kickoff event for the Nutfield Tricentennial celebration. This weekend event will include a dedication ceremony and dinner on Friday, and a Heritage Day and fun events including a semi-formal Gala on Saturday. Sunday will offer special church services and an open house at the Derry Museum of History.  
There will be a special Derry July 4th parade and celebration with unique fireworks and more.
Londonderry: Nutfield 300 events will coincide with Old Home Day, scheduled for August 14 through 18, 2019. This event may include additional activities and Historical Society functions. The Old Home Days parade theme will be connected to Nutfield 300.  A foot race is likely to be scheduled to coincide with the 2019 Londonderry Old Home Day. 
There would also likely be a “hootenanny,” party.  300th Anniversary Chairman Smith also shared that 603 Brewery has offered to brew a commemorative beer for the occasion. 
Derryfield:  The main celebration will happen on May 25, 2019 at their Heritage/Old Home Day. Derryfield will have an open house including Derryfield’s first post office, and a cemetery tour of early settler markers among other celebration events. 
Windham will hold a unique Strawberry Festival in early June and will tie in other events as appropriate to their community.
The 300th anniversary celebration logo is now available to see in a late draft version. A commemoration coin will have this Nutfield logo on one side, and each of the four towns will have their own unique design on the other.  
If you are a descendent of—or otherwise involved with—the Nutfield First Settler families, other early residents, or related folks who remained in Ireland, the committees would love to hear from you by connecting their website. www.nutfieldhistory.org/family-outreach/
For more information about the 300th Anniversary and to see how to volunteer, visit HYPERLINK “http://www.nutfieldhistory.org/nutfield300th/” www.nutfieldhistory.org/nutfield300th/

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