In Lexington, the 300th anniversary is coming

Lexington High students rehearse “The Star-Spangled Ban-ner’’ in preparation for Saturday’s opening ceremony.
Lexington High students rehearse “The Star-Spangled Ban-ner’’ in preparation for Saturday’s opening ceremony.

It’s the hottest ticket in town, and after 300 years, the party is about to start.

The kickoff of Lexington’s 300th anniversary celebrations will be held Saturday, with an opening ceremony followed by an all-town photograph, a country fair, and a dance offering everything from folk to swing dancing.

About 1,500 tickets to the opening ceremonies at Cary Memorial Hall and Lexington High School were gobbled up in less than 24 hours over the summer, and more than a thousand people are on the waiting list for tickets. Even more people are expected to attend the free, full day of events to follow, according to planners.

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“I won’t lie and tell you I’m not nervous, because I am,” said Tanya Morrisett, cochairwoman of the 300th Anniversary Celebration Committee’s events team.

Volunteers have been working for three years to ensure that everything goes smoothly for the nine months of celebrations that begin with the kickoff events next weekend.

Lexington was incorporated as a town March 31, 1713, and a committee appointed by selectmen three years ago to oversee the tercentennial celebrations has decided on a series of events beginning this fall and continuing until next spring’s Memorial Day weekend.

In a town known for the historic clash on the Battle Green on April 19, 1775, at the start of the Revolutionary War, volunteers have been working to dive deeper into Lexington’s rich culture to celebrate the community over its entire 300-year history.

Yes, there will be people dressed as Colonial-era residents in the opening ceremony, which begins at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. But the ceremony featuring song and dance will include styles from other eras, such as the 1950s, along with residents dressed in traditional Indian and Chinese attire.

“We wanted to highlight who we are today,” said Jesse Steigerwald, cochairwoman of the celebration events team. “Our community has grown in terms of different cultures being here in the last 30 years incredibly, and we’re happy about that. So we thought: ‘Let’s make it really visible.’ ”

Steigerwald, who is also a Lexington School Committee member, said that as many as 400 to 500 volunteers will be working to help with the opening day of the celebrations.

Susan Rockwell, chairwoman of the town’s 300th Anniversary Celebration Committee, said she never expected planning for the Lexington’s birthday would be so much work. But Rockwell, who is 66 years old and has lived in Lexington since she was 9, said interest is high in the community.

“The whole history and the pride in our town is practically in our DNA,” Rockwell said.

In addition to the capacity crowds expected at Cary Hall and Lexington High for the opening ceremonies, 2,000 to 10,000 people are expected to attend the country fair, which will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Hasting Park on Saturday, Morrisett said.

The town photograph will be taken at noon Saturday in the middle of the high school track oval near the town swimming pool. It is open to all residents. No tickets are needed.

Globe photographers will be using a special digital process that will create a photograph depicting the crowd of thousands of people in a way that a viewer can select the pinpoint image of any person in the crowd and blow it up to a full, detailed shot.

A town picnic and scavenger hunt will also be held on the opening day, and Saturday night the celebration will move to the dance floor with the “Dance Revolution 300” community celebration at Lexington High School from 6:30 to 10 p.m.

Steigerwald said Lexington’s Town Meeting approved about $25,000 in seed money for the celebrations, but sponsors and fund-raisers will provide most of the money for the events.

On Oct. 27, a musical fashion revue will be held at the high school, with clothing styles drawn from throughout Lexington’s history.

The celebrations committee has also planned a gala in November, and the “LexCelebrate 300th Weekend” on March 16 and 17 to mark the anniversary of the town’s incorporation. The actual date is March 31, but since it will fall on Easter next year, planners decided to hold the celebration two weeks early, said Morrisett.

Rockwell said she is hoping that Saturday’s strong lineup will get the community’s attention for the events to follow. But it is the closing events on Memorial Day weekend next May that she thinks will resonate the most with the people of Lexington.

That weekend, Rockwell said, the town will hold an old-time baseball game, and dedicate a three-sided clock at Emery Park near Lexington Depot. Two time capsules will be placed in the base of the clock.

Rockwell said that while the planning has been hectic and a lot of work, she has enjoyed it because of the new people she has gotten to know. The volunteers are hoping that the celebrations will be more than a look back at Lexington’s history. “I think I want the town to really come together,” Morrisett said.