Photo: Ellen Triantafellow registering to vote with the help of Town Clerk Ellen Cushman.
Several hundred residents – from pre-teens to the elderly, newcomers and long-time homeowners, families and singles – gathered in the Chenery Middle School’s auditorium Tuesday, Aug. 26, to meet their town.
For the 13th year, Meet Belmont, the annual community information fair sponsored by the town’s Vision 21 Implementation Committee, allowed Belmontians to connect with their town departments, local government, schools, recreation and arts programs and town-wide organizations and activities.
Ellen Triantafellow and her husband moved recently from Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood to Belmont and registered to vote at the Town Clerk’s desk near the entrance to the cafeteria.
“This is a great resource and an opportunity to meet all the folks in the town and what’s available in town,” she said, before taking a mail-in registration form from Town Clerk Ellen Cushman.
For Phil Hughes of the Belmont Historical Society, Meet Belmont allows the organization “to introduce ourselves to new members of the Belmont community and introduce them to our newsletters, our programs and the fact that we have a home in the library.”
“It always has been a great event,” said Hughes, as a large contingency of families with young children came wandering through the hall.
Beginning a decade and a half ago as part of the aspirational goals set forth in the Working Vision for Belmont’s Future adopted by the town in April 2001, which included a provision “to be welcoming to newcomers.”
In its inaugural year, there were 20 exhibitors and 40 residents who showed up, recalled Jennifer Page, who with Sara Oaklander who coordinated the event.
“Now, as you can see, it’s taken off and is growing each year,” said Page.
Circling the room, a constant buzz rose from the floor as old friends and newbies discussed clubs and town government, beginning or continuing relationships as they went table to table to pick up pamphlets and calendars from groups they’ve never knew existed in Belmont.
This is a fantastic event, especially for young, new families, so they can be part of the community when they get here,” said George Durante, the chair of the Vision 21 Committee, who worked the door of the event, taking down names and getting feedback.