1869 — 200th Anniversary
The Bicentennial Tent and Interior as it Appeared on Westfield Green, Oct. 6, 1869.
The Committee on Entertainment secured the mammoth tent of Prince & Co. of Boston, measuring 200 feet by 80 feet, for use on the occasion, and pitched it on Broad street, at the south end of the park. Tables were arranged, and plates set for one thousand persons or more, and each plate had an occupant. Messrs. Fowler & Noble of Westfield and E. C. Barr & Co. of Springfield were the caterers.
The flood had very seriously interfered with their arrangement, causing vexatious delay, so that the dinner which was to have been served at one o'clock, did not come off until three, and some articles of the "bill of fare" did not come to hand at all. The excellent caterers, under the circumstances, could do nothing better than to throw themselves upon the patience and good nature of their guests, which they found in abundance, unquenched by the flowing waters. One could learn from them what strong determination and persistent effort can accomplish under adverse circumstances. After the exercises in the church the procession reformed and marched around the park to the tent, filling up the ample space within the inclosure. The tables presented a very neat appearance and were artistically decorated with flowers from the gardens of P. Dow, Esq., and Mrs. Judson Rowe. There were articles on the bill of fare of such an abundance as to satisfy the sharpened appetites of the vast throng and then some to spare. Norman T. Leonard, Esq., in the absence of Mr. Fowler, presided. The blessing was invoked by the Rev. Edward Jessup of Brooklyn, N. Y., a native of the town. After an hour of successful onslaught, a fearful scene was presented.
The dinner ended, and true symposium commenced. Unstudied after-dinner speeches, having a certain mellowness and bonhomie about them as if the flavor of the viands were already incorporated in their words.