Nutfield 300th plans big finale during Derryfest

COURTESY IMAGEDerry's 300th Nutfield commemorative coin image. Coins representing all Nutfield towns will be available at this year's Derryfest celebration on Sept. 21.

DERRY — It's been a big year for all things Nutfield and its 300th anniversary.

To help top off the celebration that included months of special events in all of the original Nutfield towns — Derry, Londonderry, Windham and Derryfield in Manchester — the upcoming Derryfest celebration on Sept. 21 will continue with more historical activities to honor the area's original settlers.

Paul Lindemann, chairman of the Nutfield 300th Steering Committee, told town councilors recently that activities honoring the 300th birthday have kept the past months very busy.

That included a successful kick-off Founders Weekend in April, Living Treasures luncheon, Derryfield's Old Home Day, Londonderry Old Home Day, Windham's celebration weekend during the annual Strawberry Festival, the First Parish meetinghouse steeple being raised, Civil War Encampment, and the DAR's 125th anniversary honoring founder Annie Shepard.

"And we have some great plans for wrapping that up," Lindemann said.

At the upcoming Derryfest, there will be a Nutfield 300th booth and also a Friends of the Meetinghouse booth, where there will be information on the 300th and the area's history, plus a look at the historic First Parish Church meetinghouse, its ongoing restoration project and history. There will also be fundraising items available to support the ongoing work at the 1769 East Derry landmark.

The Derry Heritage Commission is sponsoring the Nutfield 300th booth, offering display panels and free literature on the early Scottish-Irish settlers and the founding and early growth of Nutfield. There will be 300th shirts for sale for $20, along with commemorative coins for $5 each

A new time capsule and its contents will be on display. The capsule will be filled with all sorts of artifacts and information pertinent to the current year including a 300th supplement by The Derry News, other local newspapers and articles, 300th event brochures, 300th shirt, commemorative coins representing all Nutfield towns, a "First Potato" stress reliever, a 1718 migration booklet, "50 Years in the Future" essays and contributions from town and school officials, documents from other Nutfield towns, a "300th Thoughts" video interviews asking people what does the Nutfield 300th mean to them, and what will this area be like in 50 years.

The time capsule is a new safe with a manual combination lock that will be stored, once filled, in the Derry Museum of History in a former bank vault. Instructions on how to open the safe will be safely stored with the museum's and the town's records.

The time capsule filled 50 years ago during the 250th Nutfield celebration was discovered to be empty earlier this summer. That original capsule, moved into a strongbox safe, had been moved into Derry Public Library's New Hampshire Room, but was originally buried in MacGregor Park.

To explain the mystery of that old capsule, Derry Public Library staff will have the empty strongbox on display during Derryfest. They will tell the story of how that capsule was moved once the library's expansion work began in 1989-1990.

Lindemann will also speak briefly on the park stage during Derryfest about all the 300th activities that took place. The time capsule will be sealed officially at a later date.

For information visit nutfieldhistory.org.

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