WESTMINSTER — The cracker factory that still stands on Main Street as New England’s last may not still be baking the crackers that were a staple in colonial New England but the community has definitely not forgotten.
An event attended by thousands, the 8th annual Westminster Cracker Festival is coming up once again on Saturday, Oct. 21. from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Westminster Center at 10 Village Square, courtesy of the Westminster Village Foundation.
Minutes from Wachusett Mountain, the event features craft and food vendors, kids events, a 5K race, locally-produced Wachusett Brewing Company beer and live music throughout the day.
The highlight of the event is the parade at 1 p.m., which normally has the Honorary King and Queen, followed by the reigning Cracker Queen with her own parade of princesses. All children are invited to dress as a prince or princess to be part of the parade.
This year is particularly significant as local legend and longtime postmaster King Stan Skamarycz recently passed away at 95 years old. He has been made the Honorary King and a special remembrance has been planned for the parade this year.
“He knew everyone in town and it seemed that he could recite every visitor’s zip code,” said a release about the event. “In addition, his license plate was 01473, same as the town’s zip code and of course he had box #1 at the Post Office.”
The Honorary Queen, Rauha Torni, is another well-known and beloved member of the Westminster community and will be joined by Skamarycz’s granddaughter, Maddie Skamarycz, who is the reigning Cracker Queen this year.
According to the festival’s website, the event attracts approximately 6,000 attendees each year and people come from all over the country.
Westminster Crackers now operates out of it’s manufacturing headquarters in Rutland, VT but had claimed to be the longest running cracker bakery in New England before it closed it’s doors roughly a half century ago.