Way Back When ... 1926
As the Fourth of July approaches, let’s look back on Fairfield’s rich patriotic history and how the town celebrated this historic holiday in the past. While some cannot imagine the date passing without the classic fireworks and a picnic on the beach, Fairfield didn’t always celebrate in this way.
The formal, town-wide celebration of Independence Day did not start right after the Revolutionary War. Instead, it was spurred by the formation of the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). Prior to that, Independence Day was seen as a minor holiday — a simple gathering of a family would do.
The sense of community that surrounds the July 4 holiday began in 1895 when the newly-formed Eunice Dennie Burr Chapter of the DAR started the tradition of holding patriotic exercises on the Town Green. The DAR’s celebration on the Town Green featured a ceremony of music, speeches, a reading of the Declaration of Independence, and religious remarks from local clergy — a tradition that continued for more than a hundred years.
In 1926, the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, it featured a full-scale re-enactment of the signing as depicted in the famous painting by Connecticut’s John Trumbull. Locals dressed up as the nation’s founding fathers and gathered on a temporary stage. Fairfielder’s sat in rows of chairs to watch the re-enactment in from of the Town Hall.
This year, on the weekend following Independence Day, professional actors will once again be on the grassy areas around the Town Hall and the Fairfield Museum. “Road to Independence: The Burning of Fairfield, 24 Hours that Changed History,” is a brand-new, outdoor interactive performance and short walking tour that gives attendees a front-row seat to an extraordinary moment in Revolutionary history and provides an intimate portrayal of the sacrifices the town’s forefathers and mothers made to secure independence from English rule. There are two performances on Saturday, July 6 (at 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.) and two on Sunday, July 7 (at 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.). Tickets are required and can be purchased at Fairfieldhistory.org.
If you cannot make the event, there is more information on Fairfield during the Revolutionary War in the Museum’s ongoing exhibition, Creating Community. Happy Fourth of July to everyone!
The Fairfield Museum & History Center and Museum Shop, located at 370 Beach Road, is open seven days a week, 10am-4pm. Members of the Museum and children under 5 are admitted free. For more information, call 203-259-1598 or visit Fairfieldhistory.org.