"Colonial Days" – Where Did They Go?
In the wake of a very successful "Discover Pittsford" Day might be a very good time to answer the oft asked question - What ever happened to Colonial Days?
In 1961 forces were set in motion in the Village of Pittsford to produce a legacy remembered as some of the best times of sharing of art and merchandise among the residents and may others from outside the community.
Bill Reinhard was the Chairman of the first Colonial Days event and recalls the early years as being very successful and true to the purposes of the merchants. Even though Pittsford was not truly an historic town, Bill and others outfitted the men with tri-cornered hats and bowties; the women wore straw bonnets. Many non-profit and service groups cooperated with the merchants to bring exposure to goods and services offered by their organizations. It was a way for the merchants to give back to the community that supported them.
Bill Reinhard, Larry Bridge, Bob Burdett, and Andy Wolfe were just a few of the proprietors who did the work of organizing and setting up the various activities. Among the annual attractions was the Monroe County Band's first concert of the year. Sometimes it was held in Port of Pittsford Park and other times a bandstand was set up at the four corners.
The time for an idea like Colonial Days was just right back in 1961. Pittsford was the largest commercial stop between Canandaigua and Brighton. It was surrounded by miles of farmland and countryside. There was no Pittsford Plaza on Monroe Avenue. In fact, there was little more than a driving range and Teschner's Paint Store between the Monroe Avenue Bridge and Clover Street. Maintaining a strong sense of community and cooperation among the merchants was vitally important for the relatively isolated village as it existed before suburban plazas.
At the same time Colonial Days was developing into a Pittsford tradition, a fledgling art group was experiencing some remarkable success. Friends of friends of Mrs. Tori Reinhard planned an open meeting for any member of the Pittsford community who wanted to join or support an arts group. The turnout was overwhelming and the Town Hall basement was packed. Within a few years, the Pittsford Art Group's outstanding displays had become a sparkling feature of the varied sidewalk fare. Each passing year was marked with expansion of the group's membership and the quality of work.
With enthusiastic guidance from Tori and charter members like Isabel Hart, Ruth Luckett, Ali Meyers, and Maurice Potter, the new group took hold immediately. Many other art groups were blended and ties were formed with other artists throughout Monroe County, which brought a great deal of notice to Pittsford Colonial Days.
Before long, the Pittsford artists would take over the organizing function for Colonial Days. It became a very popular venue for the fine arts. However, as time went on, the preparation and organization became too much of a burden on the same people and the tasks fell to other folks who expanded the event far beyond what had been the original purpose. As happens many times, it became "too big for its britches" and support just wasn't there any more.
Colonial Days changed names in 1989 when the community was celebrating its Bi-Centennial and it became "Founders Days". Not long after that year, the event was abandoned and it has been replaced by Town of Pittsford events such as "Positively Pittsford", Pittsford Supports the Buffalo Bills, "Discover Pittsford" to name a few.
Many members of the community today remember issues and events differently and I would welcome any input from anyone. Please feel free to contact me.