The Extra-ordinary Rochester Heritage Day

To the Editor: Years ago our long time Town Historian Alice Schoonmaker (who passed away on September 30, 2020) showed me how she clipped from Blue Stone Press a letter to the editor I wrote; this proved to me how important each such contribution is to the history of our town…

The Heritage Day on October 2, 2021, organized under the creative and energetic leadership of Kate Gundberg, our new Town Historian, included — among a dizzying diversity of activities — a most emotional candlelight vigil at the town Museum in memory of Alice Schoonmaker and Richard Rider. So… it would be unconceivable not to write something now.

Actually, it is difficult to express in words how wonderful, exciting and “different” from previous years the whole day was; as “a picture is worth a thousand words,” I’ve tried to capture many activities in my photos (selections posted on Facebook — “Town of Rochester Youth & Community Center” page). I didn’t know where to go first and I missed some of them. But I loved everything I saw or experienced — pie tasting, face painting, woodfired pizza-making, antique cars and old gramophones, quilt show, walking tour of the Train Depot, people enjoying music and dancing on Main Street Accord, the shuttle to the parking area with a friendly driver, the new Historic District sign, and, of course, the fireworks at the end of the day. The town was, in a way, un-recognizable.

I have to convey my sincerest congratulations for the way Heritage Day was planned and organized. A huge BRAVO to Kate Gundberg, Town Clerk and Town Historian, plus Recreation Department’s Director Ashley Sweeney and Assistant Director Bethany Dennin for their energy, dedication, organizational skills, determination and hard work to make this extra-ordinary Heritage Day happen.

As a member of the Recreation Commission, I’d like to add special thanks and congratulations to Deborah Martin for her idea and organization of the amazing quilt show at the Community Center (with featured quilter Viola Lampman being present). We didn’t have such a true accomplishment in a long, long time… 

Bravo to every single person involved in all Heritage Day activities, including also road closings, security, fire department, vendors, food, donations, etc. I’m pretty sure this was the best Heritage Day so far, as next year it’s going to be even better. Congratulations again! Our beloved and well respected Alice Schoonmaker should be smiling…

Manuela Michailescu
Recreation Commission member

Letter published in Blue Stone Press, October 15, 2021 issue, page 19

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