Dedham knows how to party, even at 375 years old.
The Dedham 375 Steering Committee celebrated the town's 375th birthday while honoring the memory of the Sept. 11 attacks with a celebration and barbeque at the Saturday.
Dedham 375 Committee co-chair Marie Louise Kehoe said at least 6,500 people attended the event.
"It's a wonderful day," Kehoe said. "The turnout today shows people's appreciation for the town."
Town Administrator William Keegan said at least 6,000 Dedham 375 buttons were sold prior to the event.
The townwide ceremony featured complimentary food, live music, historic trolley tours, information booths and children's activities.
The Chuck Wagon offered hot dogs and hamburgers to attendees, who feasted underneath a tent as they listened to live music. In addition, attendees could bust a move on a dance floor inside the tent.
Historic trolley tours, given by town celebrities, gave attendees a glimpse of Dedham's history, including sites such as Dedham Square.
Keegan said at least six trolleys transported attendees to and from the town throughout the afternoon.
, and 105.7 WROR offered attendees various items, hosting information booths at the event.
Two moonbounces, a carousel and potato sack races highlighted the afternoon's children's activities.
Keegan noted the Dedham 375 Committee had spent at least six months planning the event.
But the town administrator recognized the group's efforts paid big dividends for the community.
"I give the committee a lot of credit," Keegan said. "They put a lot of work into this."
Keegan volunteered his efforts for the event, noting he was happy to serve as a trolley tour guide.
"It's great," Keegan said of the trolley tour highlighting Dedham's rich history. "It's a really complete tour of the town."
Kehoe said the event's volunteers helped make it a success for the town.
"We're most grateful for all of the volunteers," Kehoe said.
But Kehoe noted there were two reasons for the celebration.
"We're here to remind ourselves of how fortunate we are to live in this town and how fortunate we are to have friends and neighbors who care about each other," Kehoe said, acknowledging the event served as a town birthday celebration and a remembrance ceremony honoring the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
The birthday celebration started with a somber remembrance.
St. Mary's Church Father William Kelly began the ceremony with an invocation.
"It's a real privilege to be here today," Kelly told the crowd. "Who would've thought a kid from North Quincy would be lucky enough to be invited here."
Dedham Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2017 Commander Dana McQuaid emceed the afternoon ceremony, introducing the event's keynote speakers.
Congressman Stephen Lynch, Dedham Board of Selectmen chairman Jim McDonald and state Representative Paul McMurtry highlighted Dedham's past, present and future in their speeches.
McMurtry noted the event offers an opportunity for the community to celebrate and honor Dedham and the United States.
"Together, we pause to celebrate the rich history of our town and our country," McMurtry said.
McMurtry said the Sept. 11 attacks shaped Dedham's history.
"Our town's history would not be possible without the sacrifices of those men and women in uniform," McMurtry said, referring to the U.S. military members stationed overseas.
But the town's residents play a key role in making Dedham a thriving community for more than three-and-a-half centuries, speakers said.
"It's you that come together to make sure we have a great place to live," McDonald told attendees.
Even some non-Dedham residents have embraced the town as it's own.
"Dedham is like a second home to me," Milton resident Keith Carberry said.
Carberry attended the celebration and barbeque with his wife Anne and his sons Keith, 19, and Kevin, 7.
Carberry said the event offered a great time for all ages as his son Keith watched the Sept. 11 remembrance ceremony, while Kevin spent some of his time at one of the event's two moonbounces.
Kehoe said the Dedham birthday celebration will continue until the end of the year. The Dedham holiday tree lighting will be the culminating event for the 375th anniversary celebration.
Keegan said plans have yet to begin for the town's 400th birthday celebration.
"We'll think about that once we get a little bit closer to the 400th anniversary," Keegan joked.