The Tamworth Civic News, Tamworth’s own newspaper, is published bi-monthly by the Tamworth Civic Association. Its goal is to reach all Tamworth residents and property owners, both local and out-of-town. The editorial policy of the Civic News is to be educational, informative, and non-partisan. By focusing on Tamworth’s people, events and issues of importance, and history, the paper hopes to bring the town’s citizens together to share the past and present, while also looking to the future.

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Human 250

Tamworth 250 Celebration by the Numbers

On Saturday, July 30th, Tamworth residents came together on the fields of the Behr family’s farm to take part in a town-wide celebration of our 250th birthday. It was a terrific show of community and of organization. The weather couldn’t have been kinder for the occasion, and everything came together perfectly. When Chris Buerk (pilot) and Thad Berrier (aerial photographer) flew overhead, the crowd was standing in position, forming the numbers two, five, and zero to spell out our town’s age. Just to be extra sure we didn’t miss the moment to document our formation, Carl Tyler of West Ossipee manned a drone from the ground, while Jason Noyes used his bucket-truck to hoist Greg Farnum into the air to make a time lapse video. You can see the videos and photos on the Tamworth 250 Facebook page or by searching “Tamworth 250 YouTube” on line. On this sunny day, people of all ages from every corner of town showed up to pose for an historic town-wide aerial photograph and enjoy a chicken barbecue together.

So how did it all come together? There was actually some professional engineering that went into making sure the numbers looked just right. In the week before the event, surveyor Paul King did some calculating for laying out the giant numbers. With Paul’s help, Dave Halpin and I were able to spray-paint huge, white figures on the newly-mowed field. All we needed then was to have people stand on the lines. But, in order to make sure that the human numbers looked uniform from above, we did some calculating to get everyone positioned just so. The estimating involved Amy Carter using the library’s counter/clicker to get a headcount as people arrived for the photo. We used that total to figure out how many people would stand in each number. Folks waited in the shade, and, at exactly 3:30 with the help of group leaders and a bullhorn, people were escorted to their position on those spray-painted lines. By 3:45 the group stood ready for our close-up, and when the 1940, yellow, Piper Cub flew overhead, we all cheered! While still assembled in position, Peggy Johnson and Mark Albee led the group in singing the first stanza of America the Beautiful. ‘O beautiful for spacious skies’ and ‘brotherhood’ really did seem to describe that moment as we stood shoulder-to-shoulder with our neighbors and everything came together just as planned.

While the photos were being organized and shot, a banquet was being prepared a few feet away. By 4:00, just about everyone had made a beeline from the field to the tent, where an amazing homemade, local meal awaited. The chicken was raised by Karl Behr, then smoked and barbecued by Karl, Will Robinson, and their crew. The salad was prepared and served by Lianne Prentice and volunteers. The corn was grown at Moulton Farm then shucked and cooked by Tim Brown and his Boy Scout troop. The soda fountain was set up by Will Robinson and run by dedicated volunteers. The desserts were made by anyone and everyone, with Cathy Baybutt and Altrusa making sure the sweets were set and served. Cups, plates, napkins and utensils were donated by Jim Harrison and were completely compostable! All waste was gathered and composted by Mark Albee, with help from Margaret Rieser. The scrumptious meal was served with a smile, right on time, and was seemingly enjoyed by all.

The day was about celebrating an important number: 250. But there were other numbers that were important that day, too. Here’s a rundown of some of the more interesting ones:

Each digit in the 250 was fifty feet tall, giving 396 feet total length of standing room. The drone flew at 150 feet, the plane at about 500 feet, and the cherry-picker was about sixty-five feet in the air. There were 150 chickens prepared for the event. Forty-seven dozen ears of corn were shucked by ten people. That’s about fifty-six ears per shucker! There were two, fifty-five-gallon trash barrels full of salad and ten full bulbs (not cloves!) of garlic used in the salad dressing. Ten pounds of butter were melted over the corn. There was one cubic foot of compost brought to the Community School farm after our meal. There were about seventy-five wooden stakes in the ground with signs or pink ribbon directing people where to park or stand. There were three vehicles shuttling folks around the fields from the parking area. The giant white tent gave us 40×100 feet of shade. There were two fabulous performances that entertained us: Doug Hazard and Blue Bus. The temperature was a sweet seventy-seven degrees. The one number that people have been most curious about: How many of us were there? Amy’s clicker tallied about 475 people gathered for the photo. Probably about the same for the meal, although some people skipped the photo and came for just the meal, good company, and music. The following morning at church, I heard someone say that there had been 800 people there! Also, there was one parrot. One of the numbers we are truly proud of is ZERO, as in zero waste . . . meaning that no bags of trash had to be brought to the dump. An amazing number for such a large crowd! An elusive figure was the number of volunteers who showed up to make it all happen. I can report, though, that there was no shortage of help as people came together for this fantastic event.

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