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<p>A lot can change in 300 years. For residents of Stafford, their dedication to their town has stayed the same. In 2017, a committee was formed to plan the town’s big 300th celebration, bringing together ten members, dedicated volunteers and lots of Stafford pride.</p> <p>The team has worked since then to host exciting events for residents, including a community breakfast, tricentennial gala and a town wide beautification project.</p> <p>Formerly the editor of Go Local, Amber Wakley has switched gears and now works for the town of Stafford as the Grants and Marketing Specialist and as Chair of the Stafford 300th Year Anniversary Committee. Go Local met with the committee just after their meeting to see what they have in store for the town of Stafford.</p> <p>“We have committee members who have been appointed, but we also have this greater group of people that participate on a regular basis, which is amazing. It seems like every meeting, we grow and grow with people wanting to get involved,” Wakley shared.</p> <p>The committee first met in 2018 to begin planning the many events that are helping to celebrate Stafford’s milestone.</p> <p>“Our first meeting was January 2018. In the grand scheme of things, when you’re planning monthly events for a year duration, that’s not a lot of time,” Wakley said.</p> <p>One of the committee’s major projects has been the coordination of the installation of the “Stafford Legacy Clock.” Hand forged by Verdin Clock Company of Cincinnati, the clock will serve as a landmark for the town of Stafford. The clock will be installed within Haymarket Common in Stafford. The clock will be unveiled during the Historic Trolley Tour and Legacy Clock Dedication event on July 20. The dedication will take place next to the Haymarket Common Amphitheatre. Local businesses, groups and residents donated to support the project.</p> <p>“We’re going to unveil the clock, which is our big legacy gift to the town that has been supported by residents. It’s a community project. We fundraised to get this clock up and people donated money toward it,” Wakley said.</p> <p>Wakley continued, “The idea was to bring the community together to have a lasting legacy for our 300th year.”</p> <p>When asked why they personally feel it is important to have a Stafford 300th Year Anniversary Committee, several members agreed it is about bringing the community together.</p> <p>“In a fast-paced life that we all lead right now, a lot of families I think go and go and go and they don’t really take the time to stop and just enjoy time with their neighbors. I think that is a good goal of ours, using this celebration as a good reason to bring the town closer together,” said committee member Amy Hartenstein.</p> <p>Hartenstein continued, “People called after the gala and for like two weeks said, ‘you know what, I haven’t done that in years, can you do it again next weekend? We had so much fun,’ and that’s all we’ve heard after each event is ‘that was so nice, thank you for doing it.’”</p> <p>Committee member Brenda Simons shared, “It’s important to be presenting opportunities for people to gather together and appreciate each other and our town.”</p> <p>“As a person who’s not from Stafford, I choose to live here and I love this town. I feel like it’s a really close-knit community to be able to bring everyone together. I get goose bumps after all of these events and I think it can’t get better and then it does,” Wakley shared.</p> <p>Wakley continued, “I think there’s a lot of pride here and the events really reflect that as well.”</p> <p>Opportunities are available for volunteers as well as sponsors. Interested volunteers can complete the form found at staffordct300.com/get-involved Sponsorship opportunities can be found at staffordct300.com/sponsors</p> <p>Current sponsors include Stafford Savings Bank, TTM Technologies, Stafford Motor Speedway, 3M, Stafford Veterinary Center, Festi’s Power Equipment & Oil and Fenton River Veterinary Hospital.</p> <p>Wakley said that there are several ways for the community to get involved in each of the upcoming events and projects. “Whether you build, paint, crochet or promote, there’s pretty much a purpose for you,” Wakley said.</p> <p>Upcoming events include the Historic Trolley Tour and Legacy Clock Dedication event on July 20 and the 300 Year Parade and Party on Sept. 21. Registration is open for those who would like to participate in the parade with a float or by marching. Entities such as businesses, clubs and farms are welcome to participate.</p> <p>The Historic Trolley Tour will be an interactive guided tour narrated by Stafford historians. Tours of downtown, neighborhoods and more will be scheduled throughout the day. Pick up and drop off will take place from the Stafford Historical Society at 2 Spring Street in Stafford.</p> <p>The 300 Year Parade will begin from Furnace Avenue at 1 p.m. and will continue through Downtown. The parade will end with an after party at the Stafford Motor Speedway on 55 West Street. The after party will include live music, food, vendors, a classic car show and more.<br /><br /><strong>For up-to-date information on future events and for </strong><br /><strong>more information, visit staffordct300.com and follow </strong><br /><strong>the Stafford 300 Facebook page at facebook.com/StaffordCT300</strong></p>