GMW’s Guide to Wilton’s Memorial Day 2022

This Monday, May 30, is Memorial Day, a day to honor and remember the dedicated U.S. military members who fought to protect Americans’ freedom and defend Democracy, and who are now gone. Various weekend activities are planned around Wilton to commemorate these heroes along with festivities for residents to enjoy during the long weekend. GOOD Morning Wilton is your definitive guide to everything that’s happening over Memorial Day Weekend in Wilton.

Memorial Day Parade

Monday, May 30

The parade is organized by Wilton’s James B. Whipple American Legion Post 86.

  • All roads in Wilton Center will remain open until 9:45 a.m., when all town center roads as well as Rte. 33/Ridgefield Rd. between Rte. 7/Danbury Rd. and Drum Hill Rd. will be closed in preparation for a 10 a.m. parade start.
  • The parade kicks off at 10 a.m. Monday, on River Rd. in Wilton Center, and will feature Wilton Police, Wilton Firefighters, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, youth sports teams, the Wilton High School Marching Band, bagpipers and several local organizations including the Wilton Garden Club, Wilton YMCA, Wilton Library and many others. They will line up in advance along River Rd. near Wilton Hardware and will proceed north to Old Ridgefield Rd., past the Wilton Congregational Church and on to the Hillside Cemetery.
  • The Memorial Day Ceremony at Hillside Cemetery will start at about 11 a.m. with the firing of a replica of a Civil War cannon. The ceremonies will end at about noon with the playing of taps and the raising of the flag to full staff.
  • The parade’s Grand Marshal will be long-time Wilton resident and 64-year member of the American Legion Post 86, Ernest “Bing” Ventres, an Air Force Veteran who was Post Commander for over 20 years.
  • The ceremony’s honored speaker will be Paul Richards, who served two combat tours in Vietnam. WHS student Aki Lasher is the singer and Cantor Harriet Dunkerley of Temple B’nai Chaim is the Chaplain.
  • The CT Army National Guard 102nd Band will be marching and playing the National Anthem at Hillside. WHS student Jake Katz is the bugler. Army Ranger veteran and Post 86 member Drew Kennedy is the Bagpiper.
  • The Drum Hill Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, along with the Wilton Garden Club, will dedicate the Never Forget Garden at Hillside Cemetery immediately following the Memorial Day ceremony.
  • Afterwards, Post members will return to the American Legion headquarters on Old Ridgefield Rd. to dedicate the new deck to longtime member Bud Boucher, who passed away last year.

The Wilton Memorial Day Parade is organized by a dedicated group of volunteers:

  • Chairman Jim Newton served a 13-month tour in Vietnam in 1967 as an artillery forward observer. He was wounded in the leg and chest by enemy grenades and was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Newton and his wife have lived in Wilton for 45 years.
  • Administrative Assistant Pam Brown is the executive administrator of the Wilton Congregational Church as well as the operations manager of Hillside Cemetery.
  • Administrative Assistant Coleen Amero is a six-year member of the committee. She works at the Wilton Congregational Church, where she is responsible for day-to-day operations, and administrative support. Amero and her family have lived in Wilton since 2014.
  • Treasurer Jeff Turner is in his 19th year as a member of the committee, including a stint as Chairman. Turner retired as a Navy Commander after 22-years of distinguished service, including two deployments to the Persian Gulf during the Iraqi/Iran conflict and the Mediterranean during the Lebanon hostage crisis. Having served in commanding and executive officer positions, he received a total of 11 personal and unit awards.
  • Ventres, this year’s Parade Grand Marshal, has served on the committee since its inception, including times as its chairman. He enlisted in the Air National Guard before graduating high school and served with the 103rd Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron. He was training as a vehicle maintenance mechanic. His unit was twice ordered to stand by for deployment to Korea during that war, but was never activated and deployed.
  • Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps President John Meyers joined the committee this year as a consultant. He has been an EMT and a member of WVAC for six years. He has served on the Operations Committee for almost the entire period, first as secretary, now as president.
  • Wilton Police Lt. David Hartman is a Wilton native and a graduate of Wilton High School. He has been a member of the Wilton Police Department since 1999 and currently serves as president of the Wilton Police Benevolent Association. He is an active member in the Wilton community, a great supporter of Wilton’s veterans and continues to give back to the community. Hartman is serving on the committee for the first time.
  • Tom Moore serves as secretary for the committee and is a five-year veteran of the US Army. A 29-year member of the American Legion, he has been with Post 86 for 23-years. Married to Nancy for 34-years, he serves as a member of the committee as a salute to those service members and veterans who have passed to Post Everlasting.
(Front L-R) Pamela Brown, Coleen Amero, Tom Moore, and Bing Ventres. (Back L-R) Wilton Police Lt. David Hartman, Chairman Jim Newton, WVAC’s John Meyers, and Jeff Turner. (contributed)

In addition, committee members are always looking for help from the community to place flags on the graves of all Wilton Veterans on Saturday, May 28 before Memorial Day (rain date Sunday, May 29).

Committee organizers also remind the public that Memorial Day is a day to remember service members who have passed on, whether in service or afterward. They emphasize that it is a day to remember, not celebrate.

Village Market Annual Hot Dog Sale

Friday, May 27–Monday, May 30

All weekend, Village Market will hold its Annual Boar’s Head Hotdog Cookout. Stop by the tent in the Village Market parking lot (108 Old Ridgefield Rd.), for hotdogs and drinks for only $0.50 each from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Veterans eat for free.

The store is open on Monday, May 30 from 7 a.m.-5 p.m.

Wilton Education Foundation’s ‘Get Smart for Wilton 5K’

The Wilton Education Foundation holds its 12th Annual Get Smart for Wilton 5K on Sunday, May 29, at 8:30 a.m. This family-friendly, charity event is a chip-timed race on a USATF certified course and attracts over 300 runners each year of all levels, from elite racers to beginners, local runners, teachers, seniors, moms, dads and kids, all raising visibility and funds to support the Wilton Public Schools.

The fundraiser’s 5K route starts and ends at the Wilton High School track, and features Cider Mill and Wilton High School prominently along the course. Cash prizes are given to the top three male and female runners, and awards go to the top three boys and girls under 13. All race finishers under the age of 13 receive a medal.

Pre-registered participants receive a T-shirt. Runners of all ability levels are welcome and proceeds from the race will support enrichment opportunities for Wilton Public School students.

For anyone not in town or still not comfortable running together in crowds, registration for a virtual event is also an option and can be run anywhere and anytime from May 23-29.

To donate directly, visit the Wilton Education Foundation website.

Registration is online; pre-registered participants receive a free t-shirt. T-shirt pickup will be held at Comstock on Friday, May 27 from 4-6 p.m.

Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast

Monday, May 30, 8-10:30 a.m.

A tradition that is more than 35 years old, the Kiwanis Club of Wilton will hold its annual pancake breakfast at the Wilton Congregational Church (70 Ridgefield Rd.), to start the day’s festivities. Enjoy pancakes, sausages, and coffee, all served by the men and women of the Wilton Kiwanis Club.

The Pancake Breakfast opens to the public from 8-10:30 a.m. before the parade begins. Adults/Teens (13+) are $12; children (5-12) are $6 and young children under 5 are free. The maximum cost to families is $40.

Memorial Day at Merwin Meadows

Merwin Meadows will be opening for the summer season on Saturday, May 28. Wilton residents are invited all weekend for an open house weekend to enjoy all that Merwin Meadows has to offer — swimming pond, beach, picnic tables and grills, bathhouse, and playground. (The Women’s Room at the park is under renovation but is still usable.) Park passes will not be required for residents over the holiday weekend.

On Memorial Day, Wilton Parks and Recreation will be serving hot dogs at Merwin Meadows after the parade.

Park hours are sunrise to sunset. No dogs are permitted in the park except those on leash with their owner while walking through the park on the trail.

Park Passes at Merwin Meadows

  • Starting Tuesday, May 31, park passes will be required at Merwin Meadows. Park passes are valid through Labor Day.
  • For residents, a seasonal family pass is $60 and seasonal individual pass is $30. For non-residents, a seasonal family pass is $150 (limited to 50 total) and seasonal individual pass is $75 (limited to 50 total) also through Labor Day.
  • Seasonal park passes are available for purchase anytime through the Parks & Recreation e-Trak online registration system. Passes purchased through e-Trak may be picked up Mondays-Thursdays from 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m. and on Fridays from 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. at Comstock Community Center (180 School Rd.).
  • Residents and non-residents can also purchase day passes in-person at the Parks and Recreation Office at Comstock Community Center Mondays-Fridays 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. For residents, adult (18 years and up) day passes are $5 and youth (ages 5-17) are $2; senior residents (age 56 and up) may use the park free of charge. For non-residents, adult and senior (18 years and up) day passes are $17 and youth (ages 5-17) are $8. Day passes are not available on e-Trak.

Check in with GOOD Morning Wilton online and on Facebook for weather-related cancellation notices.