MEREDITH — The 250th Anniversary Celebration Committee has entered a partnership with The Laconia Daily Sun to finance and promote the activities and festivities that will mark the sestercentennial in 2018 and make it a year to remember in Meredith and throughout the Lakes Region.
Steve Durand, master of the Wicwas Lake Grange and chairman of the committee, said yesterday that the budget for the celebrations is expected to fall between $40,000 and $50,000. The Greater Meredith Program (GMP) has accepted the responsibility for financing and organizing the celebration and convened the committee to lead the planning and fundraising efforts. Durand said nearly 30 residents and town employees have volunteered and at least half that number attend the regular meetings on the fourth Monday of each month.
Durand said that the Wicwas Lake Grange began by pledging to donate $250 in each of the four years leading to 2018 and challenged individuals, businesses and organizations to follow suit. He said that 25 donors have accepted the challenge, representing total pledges of $25,000. The Board of Selectmen appropriated $5,000 for the celebration in the 2016 budget and, Durand said, will likely be asked for another contribution.
Meanwhile, to boost the fundraising campaign and support the celebration itself, The Daily Sun has contributed $25,000 worth of in-kind services, consisting primarily of advertising space, to the committee to solicit donations and advertise events. "We need lots of PR," said Durand, "This is a win-win for us." He said that the publicity provided by the newspaper will help the committee to raise funds as well as promote the celebration. He explained that in 2018 every month will be highlighted by a special event staged by a different sponsor.
At the same time, The Daily Sun will publish a hardbound book recalling the experience of Meredith in photographs and words from the 18th to the 21st century. Modeled after a similar venture undertaken in Concord, the book promises to be among the most popular of the mementos offered for sale in the celebratory year. The newspaper will bear the cost of publishing the book and retain the proceeds from its sale.
Adam Hirshan, publisher of The Daily Sun, said that the partnership offers a unique opportunity for the paper to develop a closer relationship with the town by contributing to its 250th anniversary celebration. "We look forward to working with the committee and others in the community to ensure the success of this venture," he said.
Durand said that arrangement will provide committee with resources it needs when it needs them while the book will add an extra dimension to the celebration while offering the paper an opportunity to share in its success.
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