Chamber celebrates Orange history with community events – Milford-Orange Times

By Kathy Converse-Charbonneaux
Orange Chamber of Commerce

Kathy Converse Charbonneau

“Your life is your message to the world. Make sure it’s inspiring. – Anonymous

This month begins the official kickoff of Orange’s 200th anniversary and what makes it a great place to live. In this spirit, the Orange Chamber of Commerce is organizing two events to reward what makes our city special: individuals, companies and associations who have taken up residence at Orange.

We invite you to come on May 28 at 10:00 a.m. to commemorate the historic day of the founding of Orange as a city. The Bicentennial Committee is holding its Founding Day Ceremony at the High Plains Community Center Fairgrounds and will have local and state dignitaries speak.

Immediately following, the Chamber’s Bicentennial Brick Dedication Ceremony will honor three extraordinary citizens we lost in the past year and whose contributions to our community are immeasurable. They are Walter “Bud” Smith (Orange Hills Country Club), George Chatzopoulos (Chip’s Restaurant) and Walter Bespuda (Orange Country Fair founder, farmer and beloved school bus driver). These exceptional men embody the best qualities of true leaders and leave a legacy to make Orange a better place because of them.

I recently met with their family members to discuss the ceremony where Smith, Chatzopoulos and Bespuda will be honored with the presentation of engraved bricks commemorating them in the city’s history. I only wish there was enough space to tell you some of the incredible stories I learned about the hearts and characters of these men. All were generous philanthropists and supporters of our community with rich histories of service, humility and leadership.

Their families will be at the first shovelful of ground to say a few words. I encourage you to show them how much our city appreciates their loved ones by attending this warm and moving celebration that has a few surprises in store along the way.

What better way to cap off the May 28 ceremonies than with a community art project for residents of all ages? The Orange Chamber is partnering with local business Art People and the Jamie Hulley Arts Foundation to celebrate the bicentenary with a collaborative arts project for residents. It’s a free event where the whole family can create seed mosaics and learn about the history of agriculture in Orange. Once completed, the mosaics will be assembled into a large, beautiful mobile installation that will be displayed in different locations for the entire community to enjoy throughout the summer.

The community art project begins at 11 a.m. under the High Plains Community Center pavilion, immediately after the brick dedication. Thanks to our main sponsor, SCG UI, for making this possible and for providing volunteers to help out. SCG UI, The Milford Bank, Otraway Marketing and Promotions, Stillwater Wellness and Community Champions Network are sponsoring packets of butterfly-shaped confetti that will be given away to all attendees. The Milford-Orange Times is the official media sponsor. Registration is mandatory. Email [email protected] to reserve your spot so you don’t miss a thing.

From May 28 to June 10, it’s Bicentennial Restaurant and Business Week. The Orange Chamber of Commerce and the Orange Economic Development Corporation are highlighting restaurants and businesses during this promotion so residents can take advantage of their “bicentennial specials”. Check out the full list of attendees and their offers at

Kathy Converse Charbonneau is the General Manager of the Orange Chamber of Commerce. Contact her at 203-795-3328 or [email protected]

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