LACONIA, N.H. – Celebrate Laconia plans to begin celebrating Laconia’s 125th anniversary a few months early with an old-fashioned train-focused festival August 19 marking the ‘quasquicentennial’ of the Laconia Passenger Station.
The daylong celebration of the station’s birthday will take attendees back in time to when passenger trains thrived in Laconia. Festivities will include train rides, dignitaries, exhibits, food, shopping and music—including a barbershop quartet that will serenade passengers during 50-minute train rides.
Most of the events will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Veterans Square, where the Laconia Passenger Station opened in 1892 for the Boston and Maine railroad, bustled through the 1950s, and still stands today as one of the city’s most iconic structures.
“The ‘anniversary train‘ is leaving the station a little early, and for good reason,” said Pamela Clark, President of Celebrate Laconia, a group of local citizen volunteers. “Though Laconia’s 125th anniversary isn’t until 2018, the Laconia Passenger Station is too important to our city’s history not to include its anniversary in our celebration of the city’s past.”
The inaugural event to start the city’s anniversary celebration will begin in Veterans Square near Downtown at 11 a.m., with opening ceremonies hosted by radio personality Pat Kelly. It will feature dignitaries, such as former mayors Rod Dyer and Paul Fitzgerald. Pleasant Street School students will sing.
Afterward, historians will give lectures on the station and the Laconia Streetcar Company at nearby Gale Memorial Library. Trains will offer rides throughout the day as barbershop quartet Lakes Region Chordsmen performs on all rides. Bank of New Hampshire is the Conductor Sponsor for the rides.
Vendors will set up in and near the square, Downtown stores will open, and there will be a pig roast at 4 p.m. at Local Eatery, 21 Veterans Square.
More event details will be released as the date draws nearer. The following schedule of musical performances has been set for the event, being sponsored by Binnie Media, Trustworthy Hardware and Denoncourt, Waldron & Sullivan, PA:
• 11:30 a.m. – noon – New Horizons • 12 p.m.-2 p.m. – Annie & the Orphans (classic rock.) • 2 p.m.-4 p.m. – Tyler Road (bluegrass) • 4 p.m.-6 p.m. – The Rockin’ Daddios
Celebrate Laconia will hold a general public meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 28 at the Woodside Building at Taylor Community, 435 Union Ave in Laconia. Area residents are invited to learn more or sign up to be volunteers, vendors or sponsors.