Located in the heart of the Depot, The Judy Black Memorial Park and Gardens is a vibrant cultural hub for the Washington community. Since its dedication in 2016, this beloved landmark has served as a gathering space where residents come together, and engage in a host of educational and cultural activities. Its overall mission is to enhance the quality of life in our town and support our local organizations/businesses. To show our appreciation for all that The Park provides for our community, here is our spotlight list of five fast facts!
1. A Renovated Community Hub
The site was formerly a gas station that was located on a prominent corner in the heart of Washington Depot. For years, the gas station was empty and overlooked. However, in 2013, a small group of civic-minded residents had the vision of transforming the area into a community park and decided to purchase the garage. They formed the Washington Park Foundation and, with help as well as generous donations from the community, they were able to start construction on the park. In 2016, the Park was officially opened and dedicated to the late Judy Black.
2. Beautiful and Serene Garden
The idea to add an extensive garden to the park came from Judy Black, a longtime resident of Litchfield County and The Park’s key donor. Judy was a lover of gardens and wanted to create a space where people could relax, dream, and experience Washington’s beautiful natural surroundings. She was actively involved in the creation of the garden as she helped to design the space and selected all of the plants and flowers. Judy also insisted that local professionals and vendors do the landscaping and construction of the garden, reinforcing her commitment to our community
3. Weekly Farmers Market
This year, from June to October, The Park will play host to Washington’s Farmers Market. Every Saturday, vendors from our town and the surrounding area will set up shop right in the garden and sell their goodies from 10 am to 1 pm. Local Connecticut farms have fresh produce, vegetables, meat, and eggs available to purchase while other local businesses offer homemade baked goods, beautiful flowers, and refreshing ice pops. Opening day for the Farmers Market is Saturday, June 2nd, so be sure to mark your calendars!
4. Community Art Gallery and Performance Space
The garage building of the old gas station was renovated to become an event space and a gallery space. Throughout the year, The Park holds several fantastic art exhibits that feature different artistic mediums as well as emerging and established artists. The Park often hosts lectures, workshops, performances, and musical concerts for free for the community. Upcoming events include a June 7th Tri-M Honors Music Society concert by the Shepaug Valley Students at 6:30 p.m. and on June 9th, a Walt Whitman Play at 5 p.m. by William Kinsolving. The beautiful building hosts performances by local cultural organizations all year round, including Free Yoga/Meditation at 12 p.m. on Sundays.
5. Outdoor Movie Nights
During the summer, The Parks sets up a big movie screen in the garden and, thanks to local sponsors, hosts a movie night for the entire community. Old classics as well as modern films are screened at 8 pm on the first Friday of the month. This year, the movies include African Queen, Rear Window, Roman Holiday, and North By Northwest. Come with your picnic basket and blanket and enjoy the show!
To see all of the fun events happening at The Park this summer, check out The Judy Black Memorial Park and Garden’s website at www.thejudyblackparkandgardens.org.