Living here for more than 20 years, and contributing to this newspapers for slightly less than that time, this columnist has been puzzling about what I could say about Founders Day that is new — in other words, what “fresh’ spin could I put on it?
After all, if you’ve lived here for any amount of time you’ve been to Founders Day — the town’s birthday and a day of celebration.
You know that the day starts with a magnificent parade through town with thousands of spectators, all day events at Booth Field, music, dance, and then ends with one of the best — and closest — fireworks displays you’ve ever seen.
I think, unfortunately, for more than a few folks in town, there is a, “Been there, done that, got the T-Shirt’ type of feeling toward the event, and I’ve heard some residents say that Founders Day is a day they try NOT to be in town, due to all the craziness. If Founders Day isn’t your thing, that’s cool, but for anyone sitting the day out these past few years, I would suggest to you it’s time to come back. You’re missing something very special.
See, this week I was driving up Central Street and I saw the Founders Day banners, and one reads, “Community Coming Together.”
And the banner got me thinking. I’m not a kid nor am I naïve. I love this town — you all know how vocal I am about that — but I read this newspaper and others, I talk to people and participate in town events — and I well know that Foxboro is no “Mayberry,” despite being called that.
Foxboro has real issues, real problems, real politics, and were I so inclined I could list pages worth of bad news here. But why do that? ALL cities and towns face similar problems.
So what makes us so different?
It’s simple, really. While Founders Day is uniquely ours, it’s by no means the ONLY day of “Community Coming Together.”
That, my friends, is EVERY DAY here.
Yeah, we fight and politic and battle, but I have never seen such a generous town, a place with so many people — many behind the scenes — helping others, making a difference, and helping others in need.
Despite the belief by many that Foxboro is a wealthy town, there is great need here, and some poverty as well, but the food pantry, discretionary fund and others are quietly working behind the scenes to help. A well-known and respected family is about to lose their home and the people immediately step up to help. Superstorm Sandy devastates New York and New Jersey, and Foxboro residents form a grassroots effort and fill two huge truckloads of relief supplies. Private Citizens work diligently and lovingly and ensure creation of the gorgeous September 11 memorial. Two dogs are lost, townspeople rally to find them — and succeed.
Want more? During demolition of the old state hospital, a long-forgotten state hospital patient is found in an unmarked grave; our beloved town historian and others work diligently to identify him and give him a proper burial. The town loses power for nearly a week — twice — in a year, and ordinary citizens — nearly all volunteers — rally and ensure resident safety and coordinate the emergency situation. We read about local students raising money and donating blood for the Boston Marathon victims. On Memorial Day, we honor our beloved dead with a huge gathering of prayer, respect, and speeches.
Just this past week, so many got together for a Foxboro town clean up, and a diabetes run.
And the list goes on.
For every “bad’ story you might read here, there’s a student doing volunteer work. A fraternal organization making a difference. A private citizen or small group who sees a problem and fixes it.
And there are hundreds of other examples, large and small, of COMMUNITY and GENROSITY.
The banner on Central Street got it exactly right – Founders Day is all about “Community Coming Together,” — and FOXBORO is also “Community Coming Together” DAILY.
Yeah, we have our issues, we have our problems, and some of us don’t get along. You know what that makes us?
A normal family.
Because bottom line, when it counts, the Foxboro family puts aside the differences and works together — daily — for the common good.
And what better way to celebrate that family, that community, then by coming to the annual family gathering? There is so much you can do to support Founders Day, by donating, supporting the vendors on the field, but most of all, by BEING PART OF IT.
Founders Day is a chance to gather as family — 17,000 strong, and cheer at the parade to end all parades, a procession of all of Foxboro’s best. Then come to the field and enjoy delicious food, play the games, enjoy all the activities, and know that every dollar you spend helps a not-for-profit, or school, or church, or a local group keep making a difference.
Then, come back with your blankets, and watch the night sky explode into spectacular fireworks.
Friends, Founders Day celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, and continues to be run by a very small group of volunteers who work behind the scenes all year to bring you this day. If you see someone in a yellow Founders Day shirt, please say THANK YOU.
The town doesn’t pay for the event; it’s all funded by donations, including the fireworks. Drop some change into one of those fireworks jars you see all around town, send a donation of any amount to Foxboro Founders Day, 40 South Street Foxboro, and come out and support the event. Donations are accepted all year.
The official web site is www.foxboroughfoundersday.com — check it out for ALL the details, the schedule, hundreds of pictures, and even how to help.
You’ve been away for too long, and the family misses you. Come to the annual “Foxboro Family” gathering — Founders Day. Create some new memories and celebrate what a great town we all live in. See you there!