WILTON — For decades, the sounding of the town siren at 6 p.m. meant "come and get it" at the annual Jake Davies Smorgasbord.
Tuesday night, as in past years, people lined up in the street in front of City Hall to get their supper of cold cut sandwiches, pork and beans, cottage cheese and chips. The difference Tuesday night was the event took place for the last time.
Grocer Jake Davies began the event in 1960 to show his appreciation for his customers and to offer farmers a break and a chance to socialize during corn-planting season. The event grew, and when it became too big for Davies to handle by himself, it was taken over by the Wilton Chamber of Commerce. Various activities we're added, but through the years the price of the meal remained the same — one thin dime.
The event drew up to 2,500 people in its heyday, but crowds have diminished in recent years.
"It's just so much different than it was when I was little," Yvonne Reifert said as she dished up homemade pie at the Wilton Music Boosters table. "I remember the whole downtown being full."
"We don't have the bodies any more," Eva Belitz, former Chamber of Commerce president, said. "That's the way the world is."
Current chamber president Lisa Kublik said the decline in participation is because of an increase in athletic activities and other events around town. But Kublik didn't rule out an eventually return of the Jake Davies Smorgasbord. "We need to take a break for awhile," she said. "Maybe rewrap it, maybe come back. We'll see."
The chamber will sponsor a weekly Farmers Market in Elder Park from 4:30-7 p.m. every Thursday through mid September. And the Chamber will again sponsor the annual Wilton Founders Day weekend, slated for Aug. 17-18 this summer.