Meetinghouse Rocks Fair celebrates 85th anniversary

Norwich — The First Congregational Church will celebrate the 85th anniversary of its Meetinghouse Rocks Fair on Saturday by expanding the event to include dozens of food trucks, community groups, contests, a tribute to veterans and a raffle of a handmade quilt valued at more than $1,500.

The fair — one of the longest-running church fairs in the state, event co-chairwoman Judy Dailey said — will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday on the Norwichtown Green. The event is free and open to the public.

More than 70 food trucks, along with crafters, artists, vendors and nonprofit organizations will participate in the event. Picnic tables will be set up on the green for dining.

A piano concert will be held at 10 a.m. inside the church, followed by an instrumental concert by Matt Pirie at 11:30. An interactive drumming circle will be held on the green.

Community groups will host games and contests, including Journey Found, a nonprofit that helps clients with developmental and intellectual disabilities. DJ Hot Stuff, who boasts an extensive knowledge of music from the 1950s to the present, will run “Stump the DJ,” inviting fair goers to test his musical knowledge. If they stump him, they will be entered into a drawing for an iTunes card. If he answers the questions, they will be asked to make a donation to Journey Found.

At 11 a.m., Quilts of Valor, a nonprofit organization that creates and donates quilts to veterans, will recognize four veterans with gifts of quilts for their military service.

At different times, the fair will spotlight individual nonprofit agencies, offering them a chance to explain their work and how people can access help from the organization.

For many years the First Congregational Church has raffled a quilt created by its members. This year ladies and men who worked on the quilt ranged in age from early 40s to age 92. The quilt this year, titled “Harvesting Sunflowers,” has been valued at $1,500 to $1,800. Raffle tickets will be available until the 4 p.m. drawing.

There also will be a free quilt show featuring some quilts over 100 years old, patterns and supplies used by Kentucky Hillbilly women in the '30s, '40s and '50s. There is also a large scrap book of most of the quilts created for the Meetinghouse Rocks Fair over the years.

The Kids Zone will feature activities for young children including a fishing pond, bean bag toss, tic-tac-toe and lollipop pull. There also will be balloons and face painting.

At 1:30 p.m., local historian David Oat will give a talk on the founders of Norwich and a tour of the historic colonial cemetery.

Dailey said one of the favorite past traditions of the fair will return this year: homemade fudge. In past years, church member Gladys Speerli made fudge for sale at the baked goods table.

“If you did not get to the fair before the first hour was up, you did not get any of the best ever homemade fudge,” Dailey said. “We are bringing the homemade fudge back this year in our baked goods booth.”

c.bessette@theday.com

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