ACES HIGH 176
Along with its competitive robots, several members of the Aces High 176 robotics team of Suffield and Windsor Locks attended the Suffield on the Green festivities.
The team is part of the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) network, an organization started by inventor Dean Kamen. The group hosts competitions in robotics for teams around the country. The Aces High 176 is sponsored by Suffield and Windsor Locks High Schools as well as Hamilton Sunstrand.
It runs as an after-school club and has roughly 40 members. Fall organization is currently underway. Bill Pease, a science teacher at Windsor Locks High School serves as director for the club. The annual goal is to create a robot according to parameters dictated by FIRST and enter them in various local and national competitions.
Last year's robot, on display on green, "picked up one of those bean bag things and put it in the basket, and then elevated the basket about 13 feet," said Pease.
The previous year's robot was designed to pick up pool play toys and hang them on a rack. It also deployed a mini-robot whose function was to race up a pole as part of the competition.
The team enters two to three official competitions, and another three unofficially sanctioned events. The group hosts a scrimmage before the robots are shipped off for the national competition. Specifications for the robots are issued in January and the club has six weeks to design and construct their entry.
At this year's Suffield on the Green, many members of the group assisted with the supervision of the bounce houses. They have several fundraisers throughout the year to help keep the program running.
Aces High 176 was formed in 1995.
SUFFIELD INTERFAITH COUNCIL
Representatives of the Suffield Interfaith Council attended the Suffield on the Green even because, "we really didn't know if people knew we existed!" joked group coordinator and pastor of First Church of of Christ Bridget Fidler.
The group was once known as the Council of Churches but over the years expanded in scope to become the Interfaith Council.
"Over the years, [we became] more and more becoming focused on Interfaith," said Fidler, "There were many ecumenical christian events that were not interfaith, they were just that, ecumenical christian. We're trying to identify ourselves as a completely interfaith organization.'
The group sponsors several events in town including a Crop Walk to End Hunger in October, a Community Interfaith Thanksgiving Service, as well a Martin Luther King Day celebration.
Their major initiative is to erect a peace pole on town property. A Peace Pole is a monument with the inscription "may peace prevail on earth." There are several thousand peace poles planted throughout the world.
The Suffield Interfaith Council currently represents the Baha'i Community, Christian, Haudensaunee (Iroquois), Islam, and Jewish faiths.
Also in attendance at the event were Christine Serra, representing the Sacred Heart Church, and Hana Saleh, of the Islamic Society of Western Massachusetts.
One of the major centers of attention at the Suffield on the Green was the tent of the Suffield Players. The theater group offered a range of activities for fair-goers including a repeat of its popular face-painting booths.
This year, they added free palm and card readings as well as a free raffle for show tickets.
The troupe's Technical Director Jerry Zalewski said, "Between the gypsies and face painting and the raffle, we're getting a tremendous turnout and we love it."
Zalweski has been with the Suffield Players since 1980, and is currently preparing the construction of the set for the first show of the season. "Wait Until Dark," a thriller written by Frederick Knott and directed by Robert Lunde, will run from October 13-29.
He described the challenge of set construction, which portrays a basement apartment in New York City, "folks will be sitting looking up at the stage, which must look like a basement apartment."
The group is always looking for volunteers for any number of functions.
"As tech director I am constantly looking for people to learn the skills. The carpentry is not as exacting as at home, because no one is closer than 30 feet to see the details," said Zalewsky.
Suffield Player shows are performed at the Historic Mapleton Hall which the group has owned since 1999. Other shows on the schedule include "It's a Wonderful Life," "Criminal Hearts" by Jane Marting, and the Oscar Wilde classic "Lady Windermere's Fan."
DAUGHTERS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
Dressed in the garb of the Revolutionary period, Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) member Gabrielle Howe spun wool into yarn with the aid of a spinning wheel.
"It's a multi-colored yarn, probably good for mittens or socks or a hat," she said.
Howe was in attendance representing the local chapter of DAR. The group is a national non-profit organization dedicated to preserving American history, securing America's future through better education and promoting patriotism according to its mission statement.
Membership in the group is dependent on lineage. DAR member Liz Stanley said membership required being a descendent of, "someone that served in the Revolutionary War, you must document your line to one of those patriots. Its an honor to be a member.”
The local chapter of the DAR offers a good citizen award for a graduating senior at Suffield High School. The annual scholarship is given at a ceremony at the King House Museum.