Sunday, December 15, 2019 11:23pm
North Adams, MA now: 27 °   
Send news, tips, press releases and questions to info@iBerkshires.com
The Berkshires online guide to events, news and Berkshire County community information.
SIGN IN | REGISTER NOW   

Printer Friendly Version
   Recommend this story to a friend

iBerkshires.com Columnist Section

Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Happy 200th Birthday, Florida, Mass.!

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Thursday, June 16, 2005

Florida- This tiny mountaintop community has planned a big weekend celebration to commemorate the 200-year anniversary of its’ June 15, 1805 incorporation, with an event roster that includes fireworks, a bonfire, a music festival, a firemen’s muster, a square dance, and even more entertainment.

Let the Party Begin

A reservations-required chicken barbeque is among the June 17 highlights, but organizers emphasized that hot dogs, hamburgers, and other foods will be sold at the River Road celebration site. Events begin at 4:30 Friday afternoon and include dancing to music provided by the band Union Jack. The band is set to perform at about 8 p.m., and will take a break at about 9:30 so that a fireworks display can light up the night. Once the colorful cascade of shimmering light concludes, the band will resume and play until about midnight.

The agenda for Saturday, June 18, is filled with family events. The celebration is expected to resume at about 10 a.m., and a host of children’s activities such as a bicycle rodeo and face-painting are scheduled. Area historian Paul Marino is expected to offer tours of town side of the Hoosac Tunnel from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.. A seven-hour music festival is slated to kickoff at 11 a.m. with the James Patrick Murphy Band. Each hour will feature new music by performers including the Hunger Mountain Boys, Zoe Darrow and the Fiddleheads, Massachoochoos, and Shakin’ All Over. Local favorites Shut Up and Dance are slated to play at 5 p.m. and Plum Crazy will offer the festival finale beginning at 6 p.m.. At 8 p.m., a square dance will begin with dance callers Jeff Burdick and Doug Wilkins. Dancing will pause at 9:30 for the lighting of a bonfire, and resume later on.

The Sunday celebration opens at 8 a.m. with a pancake and sausage breakfast at the town’s Senior Center. A fireman’s muster begins at the River Road site at 1 p.m., as does a performance by Dixie Cats band. Afternoon events include a sheepdog demonstration, a Berkshire Line Dancers performance, entertainment by the Flying Garbanzos, and antique appraisal offered by an appraiser with the Readsboro Auctioneers. At 5 p.m., a wildly popular local favorite, the Hoarse Chorus, will perform.

Food and beverages will be sold during the entire event. There is no admission charge.

Looking Beyond the Turnip

The town has earned a reputation for cultivating a splendid turnip crop but there’s much more to the community than root vegetables, according to celebration committee member Stanley Brown.

“There’s a lot of rich history in this town, from the first settlers to the Hoosac Tunnel, the Mohawk Trail and the power plants,” Brown said.

The town’s first settler is believed to have been Dr. David Nelson, who came to the remote region in 1783. Among the earliest citizens of what was to become Florida were Paul Knowlton, Nathan Drury, Jesse King, Sylvanus Clark and Steven Staples, who are all believed to have come to the area before 1795.

The town became a site of an historic engineering endeavor with the construction of the Hoosac Tunnel during the mid-1800s, and in the 1900s, mail-order brides and a bet about ice cream made local headlines.

In 1948, the wife of Warren E. Bounds gave birth to twins and the event generated a newspaper story, partly because Bounds' wife traveled from Tennessee to marry Bounds without having met him.

And in 1949, teen-aged cousins Lawrence Burdick, Howard Burdick and Milton Poirot engaged in a friendly debate about how much ice cream could be consumed in 15 minutes. The trio struck a deal that whomever of them could not devour a half-gallon within 15 minutes would buy a gallon of ice cream for the others. The bet was put to the test, and all three youths succeeded in downing the required half-gallon of frozen confection in the allotted time.

But according to a written report of the escapade, their appetite for ice cream had, well, melted.

A Tribute in Chalk

The Town Hall is the home of a poignant and unusual World War II memorial. A chalkboard illustration drawn during the 1940s by town resident Lawrence Caprari is displayed at the Route 2 building and is a testament to a young man killed during World War II. Caprari attended school in the town and entered the military during the war. While home on leave, he reportedly drew a chalk depiction of a camp scene and a wounded soldier on the schoolhouse chalkboard. The picture wasn’t erased, and some time after Caprari’s death in April 1945, the picture was placed under protective glass. The chalkboard and drawing have been moved three times over the years but Caprari’s artwork remains clearly visible.

Caprari was a member of the U.S. Army 10th Mountain Division when he was killed overseas. Printed information about the drawing and Caprari has been posted near the chalkboard.

“This is a little town that has a lot going on,” said Brown.

Additional information about the Town of Florida is available at www.townofflorida.org.

Susan Bush may be reached by calling 802-823-9367 or by e-mail at suebush123@adelphia.net.
Your Comments
Post Comment
No Comments

 
View All
Hockey: Drury vs Wahconah
Owen Kroboths short-handed goal early in the second period...
Lanesborough Tree Lighting...
Dozens gathered outside the Police station Thursday night...
2019 Bucky Bullett Jamboree
The 2019 Bucky Bullett Jamboree was held at McCann Tech...
Reindog Parade 2019
The annual Williamstown Holiday Walk again featured the...
Pittsfield Tree Lighting 2019
The City of Pittsfield officially kicked off the holiday...
North Adams Tree Lighting...
North Adams kicked off the holiday season with the slightly...
Oh Be Thankful Pie Contest
Gabriel Abbott Schools annual Oh Be Thankful Pie Contest...
McCann LPN Graduation 2019
McCann Technical School held its pinning ceremony for 20...
Williamstown Veterans Day...
Williamstown's American Legion Post 152 holds Veterans Day...
Pittsfield Veterans Day 2019
The Pittsfield Veterans Day Parade stepped off at 10 a.m....
North Adams Veterans Day 2019
North Adams held its Veterans Day observes Monday morning...
Cross Country: Multiple teams...
Ted Yee finished second overall, and Colin Young placed...
Ephs Defeat Amherst, 31-9
Senior safety Ben Anthony's interception return for a...
G Soccer: Smith Academy vs...
Lenox girls soccer team won over Smith Academy 2-0 in the...
Football: Lee vs Hoosac...
Lee High football team wins over Hoosac Valley 12-7 on...
G Soccer: Frontier vs Mount...
McWeeny's successful PK clinched a 4-1 shootout win for the...
Hockey: Drury vs Wahconah
Owen Kroboths short-handed goal early in the second period...
Lanesborough Tree Lighting...
Dozens gathered outside the Police station Thursday night...
2019 Bucky Bullett Jamboree
The 2019 Bucky Bullett Jamboree was held at McCann Tech...
Reindog Parade 2019
The annual Williamstown Holiday Walk again featured the...
Pittsfield Tree Lighting 2019
The City of Pittsfield officially kicked off the holiday...
| Home | A & E | Business | Community News | Dining | Real Estate | Schools | Sports & Outdoors | Berkshires Weather | Weddings
Advertise | Recommend This Page | Help Contact Us | Privacy Policy| User Agreement
iBerkshires.com is owned and operated by: Boxcar Media 102 Main Street, North Adams, MA 01247 -- T. 413-663-3384 F.413-664-4251
© 2000 Boxcar Media LLC - All rights reserved