Ever wonder who was behind the annual Christmas parade in Concord? Or the tree lightings in front of the state house and on Loudon Road?
Why, it's the Pineconia Grange, of course.
Don't feel bad if the answer still has you puzzled. It seems the name Pineconia means very little to most Concord residents - The Insider included - a fact the grange members have become all too aware of.
So, as they approach their 100th anniversary, the members have voted to change their name from Pineconia Grange to Concord Grange, hoping to end as much confusion as possible.
"The members [at the beginning] had to pick a name, and the treasurer and his wife lived in Pineconia Park," long-time member Dick Patten said. "But today, when people hear Pineconia, most people think Franconia or Laconia. We thought it was time [to make the change], because most people don't know what Pineconia is."
Once the decision was made to update the name to Concord Grange, the members first had to take a vote - which Patten said was unanimous - before notifying the state grange master. It was then passed on to the national level, and following another vote and the forwarding of minutes from that meeting, the request was granted.
The grange is now waiting only to receive an official charter from the national grange, a process Patten expected to be complete by the first of the year.
Concord features two other granges, Halloween and Riverhill, both in Penacook, and Patten said the Concord Grange spoke to the others about joining forces, but no movement ever followed.
As it stands now, he said, Halloween Grange has seen dwindling membership to the point where it may no longer meet national standards as an active grange.
The Concord Grange has also seen membership wane, from a high of more than 200 to the 40 members that currently make up the group. The grange has also lost its building, which was on the corner of Ormond and Prescott streets, and has held meetings at Havenwood Heritage Heights for several years.
The group remains active in the community, though. Granges were originally conceived to be active in agriculture, but with limited farms within the Concord limits, the Concord Grange focuses on community events such as the parade and tree lighting.
Members also donate dictionaries to a variety of local schools, participate in blood drives and bring treats to local youth houses. Patten said he hoped the name change would encourage new members to join the organization he's been part of since he was 14 years old.
"I think I just couldn't find my niche in school. I was an intovert, and I was bullied heavily," Patten said. "The grange just seemed to really adopt me. I just felt like I got accepted very easily for who I was."
Patten believes others can enjoy the same experience, and is hoping the name change can spark a rebirth among local residents.
"It would be nice to see us come back strong again like we were," Patten said.