A Community Celebration
300 Years in the Making
On Saturday, September 21, 2019, Stafford will be celebrating its Tricentennial with a 300th Year Anniversary Parade and Party! The parade will step off at 1:00pm from Furnace Avenue, meander Downtown and end with a huge after-party at the Stafford Motor Speedway, site of the original Stafford Springs Agricultural Park Fairgrounds (55 West Street).
At the Speedway Fair Grounds, residents, family, and friends are invited to enjoy live music, special performances, food and merchant vendors, a classic car show, demonstrations, exhibits, contests and more. Activities will begin at approximately 2:00pm and scheduled activities will take place through the fireworks display, at 8:00pm.
Community organizations, local businesses, teams, neighborhoods, families and more are all invited to join the parade or host a booth at the after party. Registration forms and details will be continuously updated – please check back often for updates and event info.
schedule of events
anniversary parade step-off
The 1.5 –mile procession will head up Main Street to West Main Street and turn onto West Street, ending with a huge after-party at Stafford Motor Speedway, site of the original Stafford Springs Agricultural Park Fairgrounds (55 West Street).
From the Stafford Motor Speedway Grandstands. Anniversary party kick-off and welcome, featuring the Colonial National Anthem “Chester” performed by music historian, Gretchen Tucker. Welcome Colonial National Anthem “Chester” and modern-day version to follow.
ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES
The Tricentennial Exhibit Hall
Inside the Fairground Banquet Facility will showcase Stafford's philanthropy, creativity, talent, and history. Entrants of all ages are invited to showcase special projects, handwork, the art of all mediums, photographs, domestic crafts, and Stafford-inspired creations. Additionally, non-profit groups, civic organizations, and town commissions are invited to create table-top displays promoting their work.
Food Trucks | Merchant Market | History EXHIBITs |
domestic crafts & Trade Demonstrations
Living History Presentations | lawn games |
beer garden | community displays
classic car show
A celebration of Stafford's deep-seated with automative heritage and tribute to it's continued legacy. Held within the paddock/pits within the Speedway, the show is open to all classic cars, pickups, antiques, street rods, vintage race cars, muscle cars, motorcycles off-road vehicles, and toys. Just no rubber bumpers, please. Our goal is to provide attendees with the opportunity to sample automotive history, featuring vehicles that span the decades and even date to the earliest days of motorized transportation. Lineup starts at noon, no pre-registration required. Learn More
horse vs. horseless carriage race
It's been over half a century since the the Stafford Motor Speedway Grandstands - until now! Taking place on the ½ mile track within Stafford Motor Speedway, the contest challenges Huckleberry Finn McCool –a registered Morgan Gelding with living history equestrian group, Associated Light Horse – will race against a 1914 Ford Speedster. The special event not only depicts American’s skepticism toward the first automobiles, but it also honors Stafford’s agriculture and motoring history, and will be the first time a horse races the track in over half of a century!
Immediately following the Horse VS. Horseless Carriage Race. Spectators are encouraged to remain seated in the Grand Stands for photograph taken via drone. Approximately 4:15PM - 4:30PM. The photograph will later be enclosed within Tricentennial Time Capsule (December 31, 2019).
the woodstock rail line band - main stage
Americana Rock and Roll band hailing from Northeast Connecticut
cold train - main stage
Cold Train is a tribute to great American Southern Rock established 1997. Tim Goodall lead vocals-harmonicas, Joe Paul bass guitar, Billy Hauk drums, Dave Yarrison and Mike Barrette vocals-lead guitars, Leon Ahronian Piano/Keys Vocals
Caroline purr band
Hailing from New York City, Caroline's music is intense, powerful, depth of talent High energy, intense and with a depth of talent, the Caroline Purr Band brings rock-n-roll, dance Hits and pop - both past and present - to the Main Stage.
FIREWORKS DISPLAY BY PYROTECNICO
300th year anniversary parade
An event three centuries in the making, the parade will be one of Stafford’s biggest processions, welcoming school groups, nonprofits, businesses, military, first responders, residents and more to join us in commemorating this one-in-a-lifetime milestone. A true celebration of community, the 300th Anniversary Parade is open to everyone who wishes to participate.
JOIN THE PARTY!
Are you a performer?
We are looking for musicians, children's acts, entertainments, presenters and more! From Drum and Fife to Rock and Roll, we will be featuring a variety of entertainment for our stage performances. Want to perform? Please get in touch! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 860.851.8102.
about the stafford fairgrounds
We are proud to celebrate this historical moment here at the Fairgrounds Banquet Facility. Throughout its history, the Stafford Motor Speedway has enjoyed a reputation for the innovative. Originally known as the Stafford Springs Agricultural Park, this 100-acre facility was developed to showcase the area’s agricultural heritage. When the Park opened in 1870, patrons from the “big city”, nearby Hartford, would travel directly to the entrance gate aboard the newest form of mechanized transportation…a trolley! Quickly Stafford’s reputation grew. The largest agricultural events in New England called Stafford home and a half-mile horse racing facility drew crowds interested in horsepower instead of fertilizer. Trotters and pacers tested the Stafford track up to the end of World War II when the return to peace and prosperity brought a new type of racing to Stafford. Park officials reasoned that Americans were ready for faster action. They saw the popularity of automobile racing in other regions of the country and the horse gave way to motor racing. Midgets, sprint cars and an occasional new form of racing from the South called stock cars made Stafford a regular stop on the circuit.
In 1959, Bill France Sr. unveiled his Daytona Speedway and Stafford Speedway saw France’s vision. They entered into a long term agreement with France’s organization called NASCAR and have hosted weekly NASCAR events ever since. Initially, Stafford remained a dirt track and embraced stock car racing, a division known as Modifieds (pre-war coupes souped up with post-war engines). Midgets and sprints for the most part still garnered most of the racing enthusiasts attention, but the excitement of Bill France’s Modifieds attracted a new fan base and the exploits of national drivers. In 1967, Stafford’s dirt was replaced by asphalt. With the new coat of pavement came a reputation for speed that the track enjoys to this day.
In 1969, the track was purchased by Jack Arute Sr., who had been a lifetime member of the United States Auto Club. He had always enjoyed Modified stock car racing as a hobby, because it was a welcomed respite from the demands of running his family’s road construction business. Quickly, Jack set the course for Stafford Motor Speedway. He built new grandstands, added 12-foot safety aprons, paved the paddock area, increased the winners’ purses, and constructed new press facilities. Later, Jack established the SK Modified® division. The first SK race was held on April 30, 1982, and the SK division remains an important part of the racing community today. In 1989, Jack handed the reins of track management over to his son Mark with an admonition to carry its proud heritage into the future. Since then, Mark has continued to strive to ensure that Stafford Motor Speedway sets the standard by which all NASCAR short tracks are measured.
When the original Agricultural Park opened in 1870 at the site of today’s Speedway, it was considered to be on the cutting edge. Although Stafford’s lively harness racing and early agricultural innovations are now recalled mainly in old photos, the 21st-century Stafford Motor Speedway carries on with a similar energetic spirit and an ongoing commitment to excellence!