Ringing out the old

A 12-month party came to its official close Wednesday, Dec. 26, not with candles being doused, but with a treasure trove of historic memorabilia being packed up, padlocked and marked open in 2057.

The village of Ballston Spa's bicentennial year was heralded out with much the same fanfare as it was greeted last January. A standing-room-only crowd spilled into the hallways at Brookside History Center, where village trustees spoke heartfelt words about the yearlong festivities. Events during 2007 included a block party on Front Street, a village homecoming that brought hundreds of former residents back for a weekend, and a two-hour-long parade down Milton Avenue.

"We celebrated in a manner that will be talked about for the next 50 years," said Mayor John Romano, reading from a letter tucked into the time capsule for the next "Mr./Madam Mayor."

Bookends of the bicentennial year were the prying open of the 1957 time capsule and the sealing of the 2007 capsule. Last January, the flat, gray wooden box filled during the village's sesquicentennial was opened with lots of elbow grease.

"We worked all day to loosen up the screws and nails, and there was paint on it that sealed it up more," said Ken Hahn, one of the bicentennial committee members who spent two years planning events. "We put easy-to-open padlocks on the 2007 one."

The 1957 box housed mostly legal documents, proclamations and photographs. The items loaded into the much more spacious 2007 box were given by residents seeking to bring a bit of personality to the package, perhaps making the residents of 2057 smile.

Those items included a toothbrush from village dentist Steve Esposito; resident history buff John Cromie's predictions for the future; wooden nickels; the guestbook signed by attendees at all bicentennial gatherings; a handmade wooden toy by historian Chris Morley; tokens for a free mug of beer; a bicentennial afghan; and a DVD player and discs of all 2007 celebrations. Also included were newspaper clippings from The Milton Spotlight about bicentennial events held throughout the village during 2007.

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