Marion Gerrish Center in Derry celebrates big 4-0
From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., the center — as well as the Greater Londonderry Chamber of Commerce — will celebrate 40 years of being an integral part of the community.
Sarah Gavin, the director of the community center, said the celebration with area businesses will highlight the 150 community groups, clubs and organizations for which the building provides space.
The chamber Business After Hours event will feature cupcakes from Sinfully Sarah, mead from Moonlight Meadery, and floral decorations from Backmann Florist. Gavin said she expects 100 people to attend the event, which will include raffles for gift certificates to local businesses and restaurants.
“The center and thrift shop will close early to the public for this special event to allow invited guests private shopping hours in the thrift shop to see the recent renovations to the building, including a wall of then and now photographs and a plaque dedicated to the volunteers who made the center possible,” said Gavin.
Although today's anniversary celebration is a private event, the public will be able to take part in the festivities with an open house on Friday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
“The basement thrift shop will celebrate by offering 40 percent off any one item from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.,” Gavin said.
During the open house, there will be cake and refreshments and a raffle for a $50 dining certificate, along with tours of the historic building.
The Marion Gerrish Community center was built in the early 1860s as the West Side School and was renovated many times over the years. In 1972, a group of citizens petitioned the town to lease the building and create a community center.
“Immediately after the 1972 vote, the Derry Parks and Recreation staff and volunteers began the awesome task of remodeling the dilapidated building known locally as the pigeon motel,” said Gavin. “To help fund the renovations, volunteers held fundraisers including auctions, craft fairs, dances, Christmas fairs and Octoberfests. These events, along with the donation of time, talent, and money helped pay for the initial renovations to the building.”
The community center now operates independently as a nonprofit organization and does not receive funding from the town. In 1991, the community center's board of directors voted to add a three-story addition to the building to accommodate the requests for more meeting space at the building.
- - - - - - - -
Adam Swift may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Win tickets to see Monster Jam
What's open / what's closed on Thanksgiving