New leadership conducts 60th anniversary Railroad Days

Railroad Days returns to North Canaan for two weeks of community celebration beginning July 7.

Ruby Citrin

New leadership conducts 60th anniversary Railroad Days

NORTH CANAAN — A cherished summer tradition of the Northwest Corner makes its comeback on July 7, marking the 60th celebration of Railroad Days.

For decades, Railroad Days Committee Director John Lannen dedicated himself to organizing the festivities. “He was such an instrumental part of everything that Railroad Days was,” said First Selectman Brian Ohler.

Lannen stepped down from the Railroad Days Committee in February, and in his absence the group broadened to become the North Canaan Events Committee. The new committee aims to bring the community together year-round by providing a rolling calendar of events.

“We want to grow on tradition,” said Committee Chair Jenn Crane. Earlier in 2024, the NCEC organized Spring Fest and a town wide tag sale, which were both well-received by the town.

The 60th Railroad Days is a meaningful milestone for many. “It’s 60 years of memories,” said Ohler.

This year’s calendar will offer an array of recurring events, including trivia at Great Falls Brewing Co., free movie screenings at the Colonial Theatre, and specials at Industry Kitchen & Bar, Olde School Deli, and CA Lindell & Son. The team at 3 Crows will give oracle readings on Tarot Tuesdays and free yoga classes on Fridays. Freund’s Farm Market & Bakery will have peach cobbler and cream and freshly cut flower arrangements.

Family Fun Week, July 8 to 12, has more sweetness in store: Stop by the Douglas Library on Monday for a read aloud, and Douglas Field on Tuesday to meet community helpers or play a game of candy bar bingo. Wednesday, attend the town pool party and feast on free dinner at the Bitterman Center. Catch the miniature golf tournament running all day Thursday at the Caddie Shack and Family Fun Nite on Lawrence Field; then bring a date and dancing shoes to the Douglas Library Friday night for a “Roaring 20s” cocktail party.

Weekend events July 13 and 14 include a painting class at Homegrown Cafe, a five-mile run, and the classic homemade bed race. Lawrence Field will host a bustling market of local vendors, nonprofits, and food trucks.

The Canaan Carnival will come to town Wednesday, July 17, and run through Saturday, July 20, bringing another lively scene of food and fun to Lawrence Field. Dizzying rides, games of chance, prizes, fried delicacies, chili dogs and barbeque chicken await.

July 20 promises a grand finale to the festival with tours of the accordion museum, a rail cutting contest, barbeque party, railroad equipment display, and the second annual fly-in at Triumph Airfield. The night will close with the Fireman’s Parade, an outdoor slideshow, live poetry performances, a drone show, and fireworks.

Railroad Days has shifted from a commercial venture to a celebration of history and harmony in the community. The 60th anniversary festival will honor its history and leave its own legacy as the beginning of a new chapter.

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