By Seth Daniel
If there’s one way to get a yearlong party started, it’s with a giant bonfire.
Mayor Carlo DeMaria, in conjunction with the City Clerk’s Office, will kick off the 125th anniversary of Everett becoming a City next Monday, Jan. 9, during the State of the City Address, to be followed the next day (Jan. 10) with a giant bonfire of Christmas trees on Seven Acre Park.
It will be a double-pronged kickoff to an entire year’s worth of exciting events, said Assistant City Clerk Sergio Cornelio.
DeMaria is expected in his State of the City Address on Jan. 9 to spend considerable time detailing the anniversary. His office hinted that he will be quoting from the speech of Everett’s first mayor, Alonzo H. Evans. The reason is because, apparently, there are tremendous parallels between how Everett was growing in 1893 and how it is poised to grow in the coming years.
“Coming together as a community is so important,” said DeMaria in a statement this week. “We, the people of Everett, are the life and soul of this City. In order to keep our community alive and vibrant, we need, not only to live and work together, but also to recreate and celebrate together. As Mayor, it has always been important for me to make sure that my administration offers a variety of programs, events, and opportunities for our residents and it is ever so important this year.”
Cornelio said he and Clerk Michael Mattarazzo have planned some amazing events, starting with the bonfire.
The bonfire will include piling up all of the Christmas trees gathered from residents at the curb and stacking them up about 20 feet. Then, they will all be set ablaze around 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 10.
There will be a DJ and flame jugglers, hot chocolate and other entertainment. If weather permits and it’s cold enough, the street hockey rink next to Seven Acre Park will be filled with water and frozen so that residents can ice skate during the festivities. There is also a possibility that residents will be able to skate on the rink the rest of the winter, weather permitting.
Skates, however, will not be provided.
On June 11, the City will celebrate the official date of becoming a City – the day in 1892 that Gov. William Russell signed the order to take Everett from a Town to a City.
That day looks to be a colossal celebration, with some 30 marching bands reported to be coming to Everett for a Parade that will stretch from Pope John High School to Everett Stadium. There will also be Macy’s-style parade floats and entertainers.
This spring, a citywide yard sale to coincide with the Mayor’s Clean Up day will take place. The City will also bring back Jail Day, a charity event celebration where residents can have their friends “locked up” at a fake jail located in Everett Square or Glendale Park. The only way out is to make a donation to the cause. They have also begun planning for a walking tour of the city’s historic buildings.
Finally, in January, the 2018 Inauguration ceremonies will conclude the year’s events with a Grand Ball after the Council meeting.
Right now, the schools are preparing to embark on a logo contest where students will design logos for the effort. The winning logo will appear on all events, all merchandise and on the official 125th Anniversary website. That is expected to be completed in February.
“We’re also asking for residents to bring in anything they might have that could be historic,” said Cornelio. “Everett had a lot of big businesses and manufacturing companies here. We made just about everything. A lot of people have things in the cellar that have historic value to our city. We’re asking people to bring some of those things in and let us take a look.”
In 1892, the Selectmen and townspeople of Everett decided to petition the State Legislature to become a City.
“We were growing so fast at the time,” said Cornelio. “We tripled or quadrupled our population in a very short amount of time. They decided it was more beneficial to be a City rather than a Town.”
Everett first became a Town in 1870.
The first City Council and mayor came in 1893 after the first elections.
Mayor Alonzo Evans was the first mayor, and the old bi-cameral (Board of Alderman and Common Council) legislature premiered with six aldermen and 18 councilors. Later, a seventh alderman was added.
That system of government continued in place until only a few years ago when a City Council was instituted under a new City Charter.