Perinton celebrates 200th birthday | Community Spirit
People have been calling the town of Perinton their home for two centuries, and now it’s time to celebrate.
And while town residents can look forward to two week of free activities centered around the bicentennial this summer, event organizers say there’s a bigger theme at work.
“We have been a community for 200 years and that is the whole focus of this celebration,” said event co-chair Sue Roberts.
A town is born
The story of Perinton goes all the way back to the late 1780s when the first white settlers were drawn to its fertile farmland. As English and Scottish immigrants arrived by boat, they landed in Massachusetts. Many continued westward before settling in in what was then referred to as the town of Boyle.
By the time it became the town of Perinton in 1812, a number of big families like the Perrins, Slocums, Packards, and Ellsworths were scattered around Egypt and Perinton Center.
The region has since blossomed, going from a loose collection of farm families to a commercial hub, as the Erie Canal brought goods and merchants with it and led to the establishment of the village of Fairport in 1867 during the aftermath of the Civil War.
Bringing it all back home
While life in town was different back then, but town historian Jean Keplinger says the bicentennial is a good opportunity for people to learn more about their town’s roots.
“People who live here come and go, but if they know something about the story of where they’re living, they’ll have a sense of community,” she said.
Plans to celebrate the 200-mark have been in the works since last November. There are currently 30 representatives from different groups — from quilters to hikers, to firemen to Little Leaguers — doing their part to make the two-week celebration a success.
The five women in charge of the entire event say they were astounded by the response from organizations who wanted to help out. Together with Roberts and Keplinger are Pat Knapp and Carol Saum.
So far, groups like Fairport Rotary and Chamber of Commerce, churches, the fire and ambulance departments, Lions Club, as well as Fairport school district, Scout troops and more have been actively involved in the planning process.
“When you see everybody in a room together, it’s a good chance to get reconnected,” said Roberts. “You can see the enthusiasm and the interest building.”
There will be live music, historical displays, scavenger hunts, and plenty of inclusive activities for families. And with a $15,000 budget, the town will spare few expenses on the big bash.
As co-chair Pat Knapp explains, it’s a chance to bring people together.
“I think it’s great for the community as a whole,” said Knapp. “We’re not looking to build a monument, but we are looking to leave behind precious memories.”