50 years of Bristol the focus of this year’s Historic Bristol Day

This weekend may mark only the 40th annual Historic Bristol Day, but the event’s organizers are setting their sights on the last 50 years.

The town-wide celebration, which usually draws around 8,000 people, comes at the same time the Grundy Museum and Silver Lake Nature Center celebrate their silver anniversaries.

Scroll down for event highlights or view the full program here.

So, according to event co-chair Mary Gesualdi, the Bristol Historical Society decided to make this Saturday’s festivities, running from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., a collaboration with those organizations.

“We wanted to provide more things for families to be involved in,” she said.

The Grundy Library is currently holding its 50 Years of Service exhibit. Set up in one of the activity rooms through the end of the month, it features artifacts from the Grundy home and oversized “scrapbook pages” that show how the library, and the town, evolved over the decades.

During the festivities, shuttle buses will run back and forth to Silver Lake Nature Center, where visitors can see the displays there and visit the “Earthship,” a self-sustaining model house there.

But those institutions are just one small part of a full day of activities. There’s a sailboat regatta planned, as well as a performance by the Bracken Alumni Drum & Bugle Corps at Lion’s Park Gazebo.

Before that, however, is the big dance party at the Mill Street Wharf at 11 a.m., hosted by none other than legendary DJ Jerry Blavat.

“He works right into our theme of celebrating the last 50 years,” said Gesualdi.

There’s also a new twist on the old tradition of local residents opening their homes for tours. Rather than go with historical houses, the six residencies on this year’s tour were either built or renovated within the last 50 years.

“We’ve done the ancient history of Bristol many, many years,” explained Gesualdi. “When new homes go up, people are naturally curious and want to see what the homes look like. We felt it would fit into our theme.”

Historic Bristol Day also coincides with the Fifth Annual Bristol Day Car Show at Snyder-Girotti Elementary School, where there will also be children’s activities all day.

“We want to continue to help people appreciate the history of our beautiful town,” said Gesualdi.

Here are just a few highlights for this Saturday’s Historic Bristol Day. For information and a full schedule of features and events, visit bristolhistory.org.

All-day events

Car Show – Snyder-Girotti Elementary School

Crafters, merchandise vendors & information tables — 200 & 300 blocks of Radcliffe St.

Homes Tours (Tickets required) — Free shuttle buses running approximately every 15 minutes from the front of the Bristol Riverside Theatre.

Tour of Dad’s Hat Rye Whiskey  — Ground floor of Grundy Commons

Silver Lake Nature Center and Earthship — 1306 Bath Road. Free shuttle from the front of the Riverside Theatre at 1, 2 and 3 p.m.

Special Events

9 a.m. Registration for Car Show, Snyder-Girotti School

10 a.m. Dedication of a mosaic bench, a First Friday community mosaic project, Grundy Museum

11 a.m. to noon “Slimy Science” demonstration by Bristol High chemistry students –

Snyder-Girotti Elementary School

11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Dancing under the Wharf featuring DJ Jerry Blavat  — Lions Park behind the King George II Inn

11 a.m. to 3 p.m: Historic Bristol Day Riverfront Tea (Tickets required) — 922 Radcliffe St.

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