Each year, Enfield lets freedom ring with a big bash hosted on the Enfield Town Green. The town comes alive with musical acts, food and fun. To make sure it all goes off without a hitch, the Enfield Fourth of July Town Celebration Committee volunteers their time to making it all happen starting as soon as December. This year, the event will take place over three days during Fourth of July weekend on July 5, 6, and 7. Hundreds of volunteers will work alongside the Committee to make all of the fun happen.
Go Local sat down with Greg Stokes and Izzy Post, members of the Enfield Fourth of July Town Celebration Committee and co-chairs of marketing. With Stokes and Post being just two members of a Committee of 26, it takes a crowd to ensure Enfield’s coveted celebration is a blast.
“The goal is that the entertainment and all the activities for kids and families will never cost them a dime. We’ve stuck with that through the support of our sponsors and we’re able to provide that. There’s food and beverages that you can buy, but to come on the Green and enjoy everything, it’s free of charge,” Stokes shared.
Each year for over three decades, the town of Enfield has celebrated the Fourth of July with a schedule of fun activities. Activities this year include live bands, Taste of Enfield, the Teen Zone, children’s activity area, pie eating contests, a craft fair and art show, car show and parade.
Post has personal ties to the Enfield Fourth of July Town Celebration Committee, being a third generation member. Her grandfather was a member at the first establishment of the committee and her parents followed.
“It started before we were established as an official committee 37 years ago. Prior to that, it started as a picnic of five families. It grew and grew and grew until they moved it to the green and then they said ‘okay, we should really, truly try planning this.’ That’s when my grandfather came in, when it was first established 37 years ago,” Post said.
Post continued, “Anything that you can think of that sparks interest, we have it. Music, food, drink, kids’ activities, fireworks, a parade…we have it.”
With family ties to the committee, Post said the Enfield Fourth of July Celebration is special to her.
“My parents joined the committee with my grandfather the year my mother was pregnant with me. My parents have both unfortunately passed away, so it’s kind of my turn,” Post said.
Post smiled as she continued, “It’s something I’ve always been around. The event has grown tremendously. It has grown since I’ve grown up. It’s just one of those things that it’s my turn for now and I don’t really know any other way than doing this. I feel like if I told them no, they’d probably tell me otherwise.”
Stokes said he enjoys involving his family with the Enfield Fourth of July Celebration.
“What I like about it most of all is that I got involved when my wife and I sponsored throughout the years. And then about 9 years ago, I was asked to join the committee. What I like about it is that weekend, I have my wife and my kids and their spouses. Two of the older grandkids volunteer all weekend long. I like it because my family all knows that this weekend we’re all going to be out on the Green and we’re all going to be working and volunteering. For me, it really is nice for my family that we do one thing altogether,” Stokes said.
While aspects of the celebration such as the firework show and parade remain consistent each year, Stokes shared that they try to mix other portions up each year.
“We redo everything every year. We try to mix it up. We try to go out and get a big name act. But other things like the parade and fireworks stay the same. Every year, we look at new ideas.”
For the 2019 event, musical acts include Catie Turner, Trailer Trash, Little Texas, Witch Doctors, Beyond Purple, Last Licks, LA Backstage Pass, Kip Winger of Winger, The Legendary Lita Ford, John Cantalina Band, Equinoxx, The Savage Brothers and Jimmy Kenny – The Pirate Beach Band.
“I think the community enjoys everything. A community favorite is the parade. Something that’s more widespread throughout New England is the music. We have a lot of people in town here who come but we also have people who follow the bands and come from places like New Hampshire, Vermont and New York. The Independence Day parade is the most community-driven. It’s our town,” Stokes said.
The 2019 Enfield Independence Day Parade will take place on July 6 with the theme “Hip Hip Hooray! It’s Independence Day!” The parade follows Enfield Street from the Olde Enfield Town Hall and marches two miles down Historic Enfield Street to the Town Green.
Firework displays are typically the cornerstone of Fourth of July celebrations, and the Enfield fireworks show is no exception. This year’s firework show will be hosted on July 7 at 9:45 p.m.
“Our town takes pride in the fact that we host this event. They take pride in the fact that we can have something free of charge and be able to have large name acts and openers free of charge. And they are very proud of our fireworks. About eight years ago in 2012, we were ranked by the Boston Globe as one of the top firework displays in New England. I think those are three main things that people take pride in. Especially in such a small town like Enfield that we are able to put something on like this,” Post said.
Hailing from Detroit, Stokes said the New England atmosphere is part of what he enjoys in the community. “I come from Detroit and about 25 years ago, I moved here. For me, I love the New England feeling. Where I come from, there’s no town greens. I love the whole atmosphere of New England, like the history and events,” Stokes said.
With each year of the event, Post said that the Enfield Fourth of July Town Celebration Committee’s mission has remained the same. “Our mission is that no one pays a dime. If you wanted to just sit, go enjoy the activities or listen to music, you can do that. And we want to keep that going for as long as this celebration continues. We’re still going strong,” Post shared.
Stokes and Post said that they each enjoy watching the celebration come full circle every year.
“My most enjoyable part of it is the countdown to the fireworks. I’m on the stage and I’m able to see out into the crowds and the enthusiasm, and it’s very rewarding. It really is,” Stokes said.
Post shared, “I’ve been a part of this celebration my entire life. My mother and I started a director-in-training program as a joke ironically and now it’s an actual program from about 12 years ago now. When we were working on it together, she looked at me one night and said, ‘do you see all these people having a good time and smiling? You’re part of the reason why these people are smiling.’ It’s always stuck with me. It’s not an easy task to put on. It’s a lot of work. But seeing tens of thousands of people enjoying themselves and you’re a part of that reason, it’s all worth it.”
For more information on the event and a full schedule of happenings, visit enfieldcelebration.org/events
The Enfield Fourth of July Town Celebration Committee is always accepting volunteers and sponsors. For more information, visit enfieldcelebration.org/sponsors/info.shtml
The Enfield Town Green is located by the Enfield Town Hall on Enfield Street in Enfield. No coolers, pets, bikes, skateboard, rollerblades, fireworks or outside alcohol will be permitted at the event. Follow the Enfield Fourth of July Town Celebration Facebook page for updates at facebook.com/EnfieldFoJTC
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