Organizers of the Norwich celebration to mark the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation had hoped to bring statewide and even national attention to the event.
Activities this weekend should certainly accomplish that goal. For starters, Norwich has commissioned the first custom-cast Emancipation Proclamation Bell in the nation. The Verdin Co. of Cincinnati will bring the nation's only portable bell foundry to the Howard T. Brown Memorial Park this morning for the live casting event starting Friday.
To greet the bell-casting crew, the replica 19th-century schooner Amistad sailed up the Thames River for the first time Tuesday and docked at Brown Park for a weekend of free ship tours open to the public. This is the first port of call for the Amistad in nearly two years, since it was damaged during an historic trip to Cuba.
See the attached list for some highlights of a packed weekend schedule of events. Updates and a full schedule is available at www.norwichfreedombell.com.
- CLAIR BESSETTE
8-8:30 a.m.: The Verdin Co. mobile foundry arrives at Howard T. Brown Memorial Park.
11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.. Holiday Inn: Freedom Will Ring Luncheon.
5-8:30 p.m., Brown Park: Flag Day ceremony.
6-8 p.m., Brown Park: Health Fair, sponsored by The William W. Backus Hospital.
10 a.m.-9 p.m.: Health Fair at Brown Park.
10-11 a.m.: Opening ceremony with Bronze Ingot Brigade.
11 a.m.-5 p.m., Brown Park: entertainment, demonstrations and educational events by local Native American tribes.
11 a.m.-8 p.m., Brown Park: Amistad open for tours.
12:30-2:30 p.m., Holiday Inn: Cultural and Heritage Tourism Luncheon.
5-6:30 p.m., Brown Park: Opening ceremonies, musical performances.
6:40-8:30 p.m., Brown Park: Casting of 250-pound bronze bell. Musical performances.
Evening, Norwichtown Green: Civil War reenactment encampment.
8 a.m. to evening, Norwichtown Green: Civil War reenactment.
9 a.m.-6 p.m. Brown Park: Health Fair sponsored by Backus Hospital.
10-11 a.m., Brown Park: Breaking out of the newly cast bell and opening ceremony for NAACP annual Juneteenth Day.
11 a.m.-6 p.m., Brown Park: Juneteenth Day festival with entertainment, demonstrations, activities.
11 a.m.-6 p.m., Brown Park: Amistad open for tours.
1 p.m., starting at Brown Park: Walking tour of African-American downtown history.
Evening: After polishing, the Freedom Bell will be rung for the first time.
All day, Norwichtown Green: Civil War reenactment encampment.
3-6 p.m., Brown Park: Musical performance by Mind, Body and Soul.
5:45-6:15 p.m., starting at Brown Park: Parade to bring Norwich Freedom Bell to City Hall.
6:30 p.m., Brown Park: Evans Memorial AME Zion Church Praise Team sings.