, Newburyport, MA


January 9, 2014

Up in flames

Annual bonfire bash brings the community together


Walker and Groff will co-host Saturday’s bash, which runs from 3 to 9 p.m. and also features live and silent auctions, games, a treasure hunt, music, raffles, and a variety of food and beverages from local vendors.

Tendercrop will offer kielbasa and sauerkraut, peach and apple crisp with ice cream, and baked beans, according to farm controller Tyler Matteson.

Walker will also serve as auctioneer for the live auction, which is “enhanced this year,” he said. One lucky bidder will even get to light the bonfire. Other items up for grabs include an Ipswich Ale tap truck rental, a Hank Walker goose decoy and the opportunity to ride to school in a firetruck.

While the majority of activities will take place on the fields at 71 High Road, the adjacent Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm will host an open house from 3 to 6. Visitors can tour the 1690 manor home, which is run by Historic New England, and enjoy hot cider and doughnuts.

“We are so excited to have people at the farm, especially in January,” Groff said.

Coincidentally, the annual event lines up with the anniversary of the official purchase of Newbury on Jan. 10, 1701, Groff said. She discovered this fact while trying to find a “signature date” for the permit application.

“I said, ‘I’ll bet I can find something in Newbury history that’s going to be so interesting we can hang our hat on it,’” she said. “I found a copy of the deed of the town of Newbury, and it was signed right around the date we had planned for. It was a great little find.”

In addition to the three organizations sponsoring the bonfire bash, local emergency management agencies and police departments, seven other fire departments, and “countless volunteers” are all key contributors, Walker said. SPS New England and Prime Coatings, businesses run by the Capolupo family of Salisbury, provide the lighting units, road signs and other safety-related items.

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