Published DateTo the editor,
A couple of years ago when I volunteered my wife and myself to "help out" on the Bicentennial Committee I did not realize the good that we would take away from this experience. We want to thank Gilford for allowing us to take part in this 200 year celebration. The elation that people expressed at all the events was inspiring.
This is a long letter; please take the time to read it all. These are not just names, they are a group of people who care about Gilford and are always willing to help. We took their donations and turned them into events throughout the year and because of their generosity there was no cost to the town!
I want to mention around the village and beyond looked great all summer and fall with a lot of the good ole Red, White and Blue. The candle light stroll was absolutely beautiful. Thanks to all that opened their homes or made munchies to share with folks walking along. Thank you Gilford Village!
We have to thank the Board of Selectman for supporting and promoting the Bicentennial. John O'Brien became vice chairman and helped with many of the events, other committee members to include Herb Greene, our technical adviser, Kathy Lacroix and Diane Mitton from the Thompson Ames Historical Society. Rae Mello-Andrews from Gilford Fire Rescue, Larry Routhier former selectman, Dee Chitty (committee secretary) she is one of Gilford's "best friends", a town employee who goes way beyond just her duties. The Bicentennial Committee could not have accomplished half the things we did without her, all done after a hard days work, we in Gilford are lucky to have you, thank you.
Thompson Ames Historical Society supported us from the first meeting years ago. Karen Landry, Mary French, Dr. Kelly White, Jim Colby and Jennifer Eldridge, thank you.
Joanna Decesare (owner of the Hair Factory) for her design on our T-shirts (some still available), our calendar cover, her donations and a personal thanks for my cool red, white and blue beard and mustache for the contest. Peter and Maxine Derby from Lockes Island and their company, QPL Imaging, for the T-shirts and calendars done at cost for us, thank you. Gator Signs donating over one-half the cost for the many signs and banners for all the events and usually on short notice. Fairpoint for sending two men over to paint the flagpole at the Village Field. Belknap Landscaping we can not say enough about all the projects they helped with such as the Woodsman Competition, firewood for the Stroll's bonfire and there for us with marketing and anything we needed they could help with, thank you Heyden. Dale Squires from Belknap Landscaping, wow, this guy was there at every turn to help Sally and I with the Woodsman Competition and promoting all our events. He is involved with helping people all over the Lakes Area, a truly generous man, thanks. Beans & Greens for the hay bales for the Woodsman burling pond (some got wet don't know why) and lots of flowers around our town. Thank you to my staff at Kitchen Cravings for making the opening ceremony town cake, which was the church and town hall side by side as it was 100 years ago (thank you Tegan "Bubbles" Lavallee our baker), food for all the events and the hundreds of hours to make all the crazy things we needed and the time off to do all the events. Gilford Fire-Rescue for a great BBQ, color guards, filling our burling pond (twice with thousands of gallons of water!). Chief Steve Carrier and Deputy Chief Rick Andrews always said yes. Awesome bonfire Chief! Rick and Rae with the French Club placed a thousand luminary bags for the Village Stroll. Merrill Fay's donation of the plastic for the pond, he was also kind enough to speak about the beginning of Gilford and his family's involvement with some truly interesting history and display. The Fay family does quite a lot of behind the scene help and support for the Town of Gilford. Gilford Police Department (especially for the three volley salute! Wow! Loved it!), color guards opening ceremony, carrying the cake, traffic and road closures. Wes Desousa, Chris Jacques and Dan O'Neil for help with the children's' parade, Officer Callahan for rescuing my tent at the cemetery walk. Chief Kevin Keenan, Lt. James Leach and Lt. Kris Kelly supported every event and always said yes. Thank you for taking part in our events and taking care of Gilford. Dept. of Public Works endless work guys! Pick it up, move it here, barriers, fire pits, wood, sawhorses whatever was needed you did it. Kirk Young and his wife donated a tent for the Cemetery Stroll, Brian Denuttes's trailer idea and trapping display at the candle light stroll, his wife Kathy discussing candle making. Mia Gagliardi for posting, typing and participating in many events, answering endless questions and kept track of every penny brought into the office. Sheldon Morgan helping with behind the scenes planning, judging our beard and mustache contest also the candle light stroll came to light when he sent Dee to Portsmouth to the Strawberry Bank's stroll. Upon her return they discussed how Gilford could hold our own stroll. The design of the Bicentennial signs on the "Welcome to Gilford" signs are Sheldon's and so much more. To Richie Stuart (the roaming harmonica player) who was a huge hit during the cemetery walk and Jim Dinan who also participated in the Cemetery Walk and helped with all the events. Gilford Parks & Rec, lots of time pitching in with Beach & Boat Day and Village Field events with Herb taking part in most all events. Town Clerks office sold calendars and promoted events and helped with lots of questions. Finance Department, many thanks to Geoff Ruggles, director and his staff who kept the financial records for the committee. Geoff portrayed our "Town Crier", great job! He was present and added so much to many of our events and did most of the recording for Lakes Region Public Access and has taken on the huge task of helping to create the memory books from all the literature Dee has. Every write up and shred of information will be gathered for future generations. This brings up the Time Capsule for the next 100 year celebration containing films of our events, printed material and other artifacts of our years here which will be part of the Gilford Police Department's Memorial Reflection Garden. James Coffey donated a beautiful birdbath, Laconia Monument Company a lovely bench and Sally and I found an antique Amish bell that DPW is creating a mount for and cleaning it up. This will be a nice spot.
Thanks to the Gilford Cemetery Walk committee, what a fun group, Diane Mitton, Judy Cott, Dee Chitty, Jane Percy, her Grandson Tristan MacDonald, Edie Adams, Carole Johnson and Sandy Perry put a tremendous amount of time and planning in arranging all the interesting families to speak. These women made each meeting interesting and this monumental task truly enjoyable with many stories from Gilford's past. They attended many walks in neighboring towns researched and gathered clothing (some outfits available to view at our Historical Buildings), take a look sometime. These folks brought you back to different times in Gilford's past with help from Ritchie Stuart, Sally and myself, Rick Mini, Kirk & Valerie Young, Jim Dinan, Denise Sanborn, Jack Weeks, Judy Hayman, Rick Pickwick (Rick took tons of photos at many of our events), Sally Smith, Jim Colby, Mia Gagliardi, Geoff Ruggles, Mary Frost, Barbara Smith Turner, William & Catherine Johnson, Betty Carr, Jane Ellis wrote a beautiful Bicentennial song (another verse on the way) and recorded it on CD for us to sell for the Committee's Fund. Jane performed her song at most of our events throughout the year. We can not thank you enough. Thea Aloise our flutist. Denise Sanborn and her student performers, these singers answered the call for so many of our events and their voices were incredible. A special thank you for your Caroling during our stroll. Don Watson performed at several of our events telling his stories of N.H. in song always with a big smile. Gilford Public Library sold many items, answered questions and promoted all our events and is a true gem of Gilford. Special thanks for the month long display and book signing during the Stroll. Authors available during the stroll for signing their books were Jane Rice, Carol Anderson, Dave Buckman and Catherine Doherty their books are available at our Library. Gilford SAU for promotional and space for events, Gilford Community Church for events, blessings, participation, planning and the beautiful voices singing at our Candle Light Stroll, many thanks you always say yes. Reverend Michael Graham, Secretary Dru Catherton, Carlos Martines and Kathy Lacroix were always a huge help. Gilford Methodist church events, blessings, concerts, parade float, stunning bell choir, Gilford Village Store promoting and participating in all Village events, thanks. Thanks to Ken O'Blenes, our Santa. Thanks to the Bolduc Family — Father Hector Bolduc for a memorial medallion to help promote the Bicentennial. Herman Defregger created a beautiful Bicentennial Ornament. Kathy Salanitro, Mrs. N.H., for help with the Equestrian Parade and always adding her teachings about her oxen and her farm at many town events. Dr. Kelly White hosted the very first Bicentennial meeting years ago and shared her poems and beautiful words at many of the ceremonies; also opening her home during the Stroll for the children. Jim Colby was there to open the year by ringing the bell and closing ceremonies during the stroll, thank you. Sandy McGonagle helped with many events such as MC at the Bicentennial Fashion Show (we looked great) thanks for the poem and being part of the opening ceremonies, you were a perfect host. Walt Stockwell Gilford's Flagman for a wonderful display helping decorate town building and bringing the Gilford Flag to light. Sportsman Club — Scott Mooney (also FD BBQ) and Brian Denutte for the Chicken BBQ. Gunstock Mountain Resort for holding the Bicentennial Ball. Sandy Bailey thanks for all the flyers, keeping our website updated and promoting us. Kathy Tokarz for all her help with the opening ceremonies. Andrew Fast, Belknap Forrester for the Largest Tree Contest. Scott Dunn for all his support. Counselor Ray Burton for presenting the flag that flew over the Capital during our opening ceremonies. Lakes Region Public Access, Denise, Bob and the crew for filming or letting us film for TV ch 25 and our time capsule. Jeff Ferland, Gilford Steamer, Jeff came to a lot of meetings and events and helped get the word out, also Erin for the great ending recap of our year. Thanks to the following: University of New Hampshire Woodsman Team and Coach A.J. Dupre, Gilford Home Center, Treecare Industry Association, Lakes Region youth Choir , Carter Mountain Brass, The Opeechee Garden Club, Laconia Airport Authority, Steven & Sharon Wood, John Beyrent, Laconia Sun, Laconia Citizen, Trustworkthy Hardware, Meg Jenkins, Watermark Company, Wilkinson Beane Funeral Home, Meredith Village Savings Bank, Lowe's Home Center, TD Bank, The Hair Factory, Skin Care Plus Day Spa, Gilford Deli, T-Bones, Shaw's, Valerie Cummings with Performance Food Service (thank you for your time), Fireside Resort, Sawyer's Dairy Bar, Franklin Savings, Patrick's Pub, Hannaford's, Marriot Inn, VIP, Pap Ginos, Gilford House of Pizza, Sky Bright, Ellacoya Bar & Grill, Glendale Marine, Northern Forrest Heritage Park, Dr. Troy Schrupp, Lyon's Den, OK Farm Discovery Center, Ames Farm Inn and Dan Johnson with U.S. Food. A special thanks to Leslie with the Winnipesauke Playhouse for the wonderful clothes you loaned me all year so Sally and I could portray Alvah Folsom Hunter and his wife Alice Thurston Hunter.
The varied events throughout the year brought new problems and new people to help with the hurtles. My wife and I have made new friends and have a greater appreciation for the people and businesses in and around Gilford. My apologies if I missed mentioning your name but you and everyone on this list made a wonderful and unique 200trh Birthday. Without your time and generosity things like this would not happen. Get out there and give someone a minute or two it feels good.
The entire committee and myself thank you all!
William Bickford, Chairman
Gilford Bicentennial Committee