Fremont's first flag ready for 250th celebration funded by sales of new flags
Fremont Town Historian Matthew Thomas holds up a town flag created to mark Fremont's 250th celebration in June. (JASON SCHREIBER/Union Leader Correspondent)
For the first time, residents can purchase a newly created town flag designed with symbols that represent the character of the town and its rich heritage.
The 3-by-5-foot flags are being sold for $35 to help raise money for the 250th celebration, planned for June 19 to 22.
Town Historian Matthew Thomas said 50 flags were made and are available for sale at the town hall, police department and library.
"It's the first town flag that we know of in New Hampshire that has been made available for the residents to buy. Some towns have a flag — not too many, but a few have a flag — but they're not available for the public to buy," Thomas said.
The flags, which cost $1,575 to produce, have been a dream of his for many years.
Thomas came up with a few different designs for the flag, and the final design was chosen by the 250th Celebration Committee.
"This is something that I thought would be a very unique souvenir item for the 250th. It's different than what other towns have done to do fundraising to help offset the costs for the celebration. We thought we'd give it a shot and see how it goes," he said.
The flag has an image of the town seal in the center, with two Minutemen on each side.
The town seal has barrels to symbolize the town's history as a barrel-making town; a large spruce tree to represent Spruce Swamp; the old Meetinghouse, which is one of only two meetinghouses with twin porches in the country; and a lumberjack to characterize the town's rich lumber heritage.
The Minutemen were included to honor the town's patriotic tradition of fighting for independence and preserving independence.
"We sent 109 men into the Revolutionary War out of a town of 552. That's a lot of people. In the Civil War, we gave 99 service people, and we only had 579 people. And we lost 22 in the Civil War, and not one native Fremonter ever deserted in the Civil War, and there were a lot desertions. Those are marks that tell you what a proud town this is," Thomas said.
Thomas organized the 250th Celebration Committee in 2010. The committee has 15 members who have raised about $9,000 so far. The town contributed $10,000 toward the event in 2012, and Thomas said he plans to seek an additional $5,000 from voters in March to help cover some of the costs.
The last time the town planned a big birthday party was in 1989 for its 225th year.
Thomas expects 6,000 to 8,000 people at this year's event. "Fremont has a wonderful heritage that it has every reason to be proud of. For a little town, this town was phenomenal in many, many ways, and this is why we celebrate these milestones," he said.
A 250th celebration field day will be held on June 21 at the Peterson farm on Martin Road, where the snowmobile grass drag races are held each year.
Events that day will include craft and food vendors, an antique car show, a militia encampment, a North Fremont versus South Fremont tug of war competition, children's games and other activities.
Four concerts are also planned, including a tribute to The Shaggs, a 1960s band made up of sisters from Fremont whose unusual music has gained a cult following over the years and has been the subject of books and off-Broadway musicals.
The Timberlane Community Band will perform an evening concert leading up to a fireworks display that night.
As part of the celebration, the committee also plans to hold a Miss Fremont Pageant for girls from Fremont in grades 8 through 12. The winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship.
Thomas, 57, has lived in town since 1960 and said he hopes the event will teach people about the town's history, a subject he's studied for most of his life.
"I'll never forget the quality of people I got to know here that were down to earth, hardworking, bluecollar workers who took pride in themselves and in their community. I think that is still reflected to this day," he said.