Newtown centennial celebrations under way

SARASOTA, Fla. -- The kickoff is over, the ribbons are cut, and the proclamations read. Now it's time to get down to the nitty gritty of the year-old celebration of Newtown’s 100th birthday.

This week, as events, displays, and exhibits open to showcase Newtown's history, Newtown business and community leaders want to make this year a time to recognize Newtown heroes who went unapplauded over the years -- and to promote Newtown for a greater tomorrow.

A shocking display at the New College library shows books about Sarasota's history that never mention Newtown. Residents like Jetson Grimes, a Centennial Committee member, want to make sure Newtown's story is told. "I was born 5 blocks from is very important to me."

The committee wants to make sure Newtown heroes are remembered. “We have so many heroes that have done great things, and I think they are worthy of being visible and looked at as heroes."

To ensure those heroes and the other people who make up Newtown's history are not forgotten, the New College library has a place where residents can record their stories and view a display of a New College project to document Newtown cemeteries.

At Booker High a special room has been set aside displaying items from Newtown’s history. It traces Booker from its humble beginnings to today. "Guided tours are available any time school is in," says Shelli Freeland Eddie from Booker High School.

And each month there will be a First Friday centennial celebration at the Robert L. Taylor Complex.

Grimes expects this look back at Newtown’s past to accomplish great things. "I feel we have done so many great things in the past, great things that are going to happen in the future.”

And the Centennial Committee is also presenting "Taste of Newtown" in July, featuring all the special Newtown dishes.

For more information about Newtown Centennial events, go to