No luck for Victorian Outing at Greycourt Park, but it could be site for a summer concert series

Some want to use Greycourt Park, overlooking the Searles Estate, as the site of a summer concert series. Valley Dispatch/Gayle Simone
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METHUEN — It was a beautiful day without a cloud in the sky.

It’s too bad the sunshine wasn’t available the day before when the Victorian Outing at Greycourt Park, sponsored by the Historical Society, was originally scheduled.

Because of the rain on Sept. 15, chairwoman Martha Welch had to postpone the outdoor event to the next day, which precluded the participation of many of the scheduled vendors and acts. Less than half the original performers were able to attend.

The event featured live performances, including music that encompass the rich history of Methuen. It also included an historical demonstration by the Lawrence Civil War Memorial Guard, a Civil War re-enactment group.

Clad in Victorian and Civil War clothing, the group set up tents, along with supplies soldiers used during the Civil War.

Unfortunately, the weather threw a frustrating monkey wrench into the plans. “The vendors got soaked. You can’t have an event in that type of weather,” Welch said. “It’s tough to reschedule and regroup.”

Adopt-a-Greyhound was the only vendor able to attend the event on Sept. 16, while the Quintessential Brass, Methuen Karate School and storyteller George Capaccio were the only performers able to reschedule. “It’s disappointing,” Welch said. “But that’s the chance you take when you have an outdoor event.”

This was the first Victorian Outing in 10 years. In the past they were held at Nevins Memorial Library and the Riverwalk Park on Osgood Street.

“We wanted to do the event here years ago,” Welch said of Greycourt Park. “But the park wasn’t complete, so we held it at the library and then the library started their renovations so we had the last one at Riverwalk Park.”

Greycourt Park is located behind the Searles Building, overlooking the Searles Estate at Presentation of Mary Academy.

Welch said she wishes more festivals would be held in the state park. “I was talking with (Mayor William Manzi) about doing a summer concert series up here,” Welch said. “The park is really underutilized. I want to change that; this should be the people’s park.”

Welch already knows she wants the high-school band to kick off the summer series before school lets out next spring, and she already has spoken with other musical acts about doing performances.

The Victorian Outing may not have been as successful as Welch and other members of the Historical Society had hoped, but the future use of the park seems assured.

Greycourt Park is open to the public from sunrise to sunset.

Have a story idea? Gayle Simone can be reached at 978-970-4838 or by e-mail at gsimone@thevalleydispatch.com.