BRISTOL - The Crocodile Club of the New England Carousel Museum will be keeping with a 136-year-old tradition this Thursday at the annual reunion dinner at Lake Compounce.
The club began in 1875 and the reunion dinner is a local, political tradition that stemmed from an agreement made in the past between Bristol and Southington.
The original founders of Lake Compounce, the Norton Family, wanted to move the town line between Bristol and Southington, which moved the amusement park entirely in Bristol.
Another reason for the request was so that Gad Norton, who began the amusement park in 1846 and a former legislator, could vote in Bristol where he commonly traded with and knew more people.
Norton got the town line moved and to thank everyone involved, he had an annual roast-style dinner with politicians from the area, however, no serious politics were allowed.
The dinner is still held today and traditions such as serving a lamb dinner and cigars are still maintained, and serious politics is still not allowed.
This year, the reunion dinner is hosted by Jenn Bernstein, news anchor for Fox 61 and co-anchor of “The Real Story.”
The event is being held in the picnic pavilion at Lake Compounce and begins at noon with a social hour, where beer and wine is served at a cash bar. A lamb dinner and typical picnic fare will then begin at 1 p.m.
A panel of speakers consisting of political figures will then provide good speeches and bad jokes. The panel was put together by the carousel museum.
The speakers include Bristol Mayor Ken Cockayne, state Sen. Joe Markley, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, U.S. Rep. John Larson, Secretary of State Denise Merrill and House Minority Leader Themis Klarides.
Tickets include access to Lake Compounce for the day and can be purchased and mailed before the event for $40 by calling the museum or online at thecarouselmuseum.org. They can also be purchased at the door for $45. For more information call the carousel museum at 860-585-5411.
Lorenzo Burgio can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 860-973-5088.