HANSON – In two years, the South Shore will have a lot to celebrate.
Plymouth will be observing 400 years since the arrival of the Pilgrims in the New World. Closer to home, Hanson will also be celebrating anniversary in 2020 – the bicentennial of the town’s founding — and plans are already under way.
Joshua Singer, of Edward Jones Investments, who chairs the Hanson Business Network and is a member of the Hanson 200 Committee, recently updated the Board of Selectmen on the committee’s work and offered a glimpse of the coming celebration. He said they will keep the board, and town, updated as definitive dates and plans are set.
“We are currently very much in the planning stage,” Singer said. “We are starting our actual calendar of events for the 200th anniversary. We’re focusing on three key areas right now.” Those areas of focus are fundraising for events; promotion and planning. A logo de- sign contest will be used as a way to include Hanson student artists in the planning at both the middle school and high school.
There is currently an open position on the Hanson 200 Committee and a subcommittee will be formed for those who don’t have the time for a monthly meeting commitment, but wish to take part in planning for specific events.
Singer said the Hanson committee is looking to work together with the committee planning Plymouth’s 400th anniversary celebration, perhaps to gain mention during events there as well as to borrow ideas.
“They’re so close, we might as well piggyback out of all the notoriety they’re going to get,” he said.
Among the events being considered for development in connection with the celebration is a kickoff event on Feb. 22, 2020, which is the anniversary of the actual date of Hanson’s founding in 1820. Singer said a gathering of the town’s founding families is also being looked at close to the founding date.
“We’re looking to get that declared as Hanson Day by the state,” Singer said. That would be accomplished by proclamations by the General Court.
A gala ball, town parade, a town tailgate party, concerts by local bands and choirs specifically those at WHRHS a fireman’s ball, fitness events, a family photo contest, geocaching, a carnival day and 200 days of paying it forward.
“In short, clear your social calendar for 2020,” said Selectman Laura FitzGerald-Kemmett, who also serves on the Hanson 200 Committee. She said the School District has also made a commitment to incorporate the bicentennial into the Hanson schools’ curricula. “Even if it’s just one day, where they talk about Hanson’s history and what kind of town it was.”
A July 4 celebration is also planned that year to mark the bicentennial.
“A carnival day would be terrific,” said Selectmen Chairman James McGahan, noting that he and Selectman Kenny Mitchell had tried to organize a carnival day more than a year ago and ran into challenges that prevented success. “That company [they tried to book] did make a contribution to school activities. So, if you guys can come through, the kids really need it.”
“You have to start now,” Mitchell said concerning booking a carnival company. “It’s all about the dates. They have dates that are already set for the next five years.” Singer said they would be aiming to schedule it as close to July 4 as possible, noting that July 4 itself may be difficult to book.
Fund-raising ideas include a themed ball, perhaps three – an 1800s themed event later this year, the 1900s in 2019 and the 2000s in 2020. A Hanson’s Got Talent competition is also being considered, to be perhaps staged at the Dr. John F. McEwan Performing Arts Center at WHRHS as well as potential Mr. Hanson and Mrs. Hanson pageants.
The Hanson 200 Committee began its work with $19,000 remaining from the 175th celebration and a recent allocation from Town Meeting. Donations are being accepted with details on that being posted on the town’s website at hanson-ma.gov.
A pop-up marketing opportunity for Hanson and 200th anniversary merchandise at the former Plymouth County Hospital site is also being considered. The committee is also working with the Final Plymouth County Hospital Reuse Committee to plan some sort of commemoration of the land as either a bicentennial park or incorporating the 200th anniversary into future plans there.