Portsmouth Prepares For Its 400th Birthday, Five Years In Advance

Jun 12, 2018

Portsmouth turns 400 years old in 2023 and planning for that birthday is already under way.

Portsmouth residents will have a chance tonight to share their ideas at a public forum on how they want to celebrate the city's four centuries.

Susan Labrie is the director of Portsmouth400, which is the group planning the celebration. She says the anniversary is more than just a day for a parade.

"It's going to be creating the programs and events that go beyond 2023,” she said.  

Funds for the anniversary celebrations and programming will come from the city of Portsmouth and from fundraising efforts.

Dover, Rye and New Castle also turn 400 in 2023. For Labrie, this means an opportunity for collaboration rather than competition.

"We'll be stronger if we work together,” she said. Labrie has met with planning committees from Rye and New Castle.

"People just keep calling me, and seeing me and blowing thoughts and ideas into this ball of fire."

In the days leading up to tonight’s meeting, ideas from friends and community members have been pouring in.

“I feel like I have this ball of energy that started out manageable, and people just keep calling me, and seeing me and blowing thoughts and ideas into this ball of fire,” Labrie said.  

About 50 people have signed up for tonight’s session, and another forum will be held at the end of the month.