Salem - The staff of a local horse riding facility and members of the town historical society are among those who will come together Saturday to highlight the town's history in the first Paugwonk Day celebration.
The new fall historical festival will be held at Treasure Hill Farm, a boarding and riding facility that opened in December on 95 acres off Old Colchester Road.
The festival will feature a 5K cross country race called "Flick the Tick" with proceeds from the 9 a.m. race going to support Lyme disease research. Noon will mark the start of a historical celebration that will include carriage rides, Colonial crafts and a station in which townspeople can voice record their own personal accounts of the town's history.
"We wanted to do something to really bring the community together and educate people. These are our roots," said Jenn Lindo, an event coordinator. "It's not the kind of thing that you learn in school."
Treasure Hill Farm business manager Joe Newman, one of the event's organizers and a self-described history buff, said the idea for the festival originated in the early days of his family's business.
He said the name for the event is derived from the 18th century, a time when the town was known as Paugwonk. The small neighborhood around the Gardner Lake Firehouse and Treasure Hill Farm still carries the name.
Newman and his family wanted to raise money for Lyme disease research because the ailment recently affected one of their own. Marc Newman, Joe Newman's brother and an architect who designed the Treasure Hill Farm facility, recently spent several months visiting different doctors as his Lyme disease went undiagnosed.
Joe Newman said his brother, who lives in New York City, has mostly recovered. The 5K, which will wind through the farm's paddocks and trails, will hopefully help others avoid the pain Marc Newman endured during his misdiagnosis. It costs $20 to run in the race.
"When we opened and caught our breath we really wanted to do something to help with Lyme disease," Joe Newman said.
The Paugwonk Day will feature a performance from the 6th Connecticut Regiment Revolutionary War Re-enactors and carriage rides provided by the Olde Ransom Farm.
The idea for the voice recordings came from a former Girl Scout's gold award project. Victoria Nortz interviewed residents of the town and created an oral history that is archived at the town library.
Librarian Jackie Hemond said that after speaking with Newman they both decided it would be fun to add more voices to the project. It will be another way to celebrate the town's heritage.
"Salem is a little town and the history of it is not well recorded," Hemond said. "We're hoping to promote pride in Salem history and get it more out there in the open."