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By Stephen Press
Hometown Weekly Staff
For those who call Medfield home, there has always been a pronounced sense of an old-fashioned community. Some might attribute it to the village's historic buildings and green spaces. Some might point their fingers at the independent businesses that dot the town. Still others might say it is because of the people themselves.
Last weekend, each of those respective elements converged, sending Medfield's already-robust sense of community into overdrive.
Saturday was Medfield Day, a yearly celebration of the people and businesses that make up this gem of a town. Sponsored by the Medfield Employers and Merchants Organization (MEMO), the day has become a must-attend event for both residents and out-of-towners alike. This year, one couldn't hazard a proper guess at the number of people who had come to enjoy the festivities.
"No final count yet," smiled Aditi Thatte as she looked over the myriad happy people who had thronged to Medfield for the day. For Thatte, who was splitting her time between three booths in her official capacities with MEMO (where she is President), Medfield TV (where she is the Executive Director) and the Lions Club (where she is President), it was a perfect day. "It's sort of the centerpiece of what MEMO is about, and it brings the whole town together," she said. "It serves both purposes really well."
"It started in 1980," explained Richard DeSorgher, Medfield's Town Historian, as he manned the Historical Society booth that was appropriately sandwiched between the Dwight-Derby House and Meetinghouse Pond. "I was on the Board of Selectmen then; we were the first board that gave they okay. It was definitely a unique idea. Medfield was one of the first towns to do [something like this]. Now, everyone around here does it. There's Dover Days, and Norwood… all of that came after. We were really one of the first towns to do this concept."
Of course, the 1980 incarnation of Medfield Day wasn't quite as massive as 2016's fête. "We closed it off and it was around the Pond," DeSorgher continued. "The first couple years, it was just Frairy Street. Now it's expanded. It's in the parking lot where the Montrose School is, it's expanded up onto North Street, it's over on the other side of the Pond."
But somewhere in the town's 365-year history, there must have been something similar to Medfield Day, right?
DeSorgher racked his brain. "The concept, I think, was new," he said. "We always had the carnival and fairs; some of the different organizations had activities down where Metacomet is now. The Norfolk Hunt Club used to have different events - everyone would go up there. I'm stretching a little bit to try to pull history in."
"I think it was a unique concept in 1980," he finally admitted. "It's just a great social event for the town. People get to see one another. It gives the different organizations to let people know what they sell. It's a fun day," he concluded.
Whether you came for the vendors, food, live music, bucolic atmosphere, or opportunity to rub elbows with your neighbors, it was difficult to disagree with DeSorgher's assertion.
Back at the MEMO booth, Aditi Thatte was still smiling as a band sang country-tinged harmonies nearby. "I get to see so many people I haven't seen in a year. It's awesome," she said as she looked over the crowd of happy Medfielders.
"Medfield Day is all about having fun. It's just a family fun, community-oriented day."