If you haven't begun to notice that fire hydrants all over Fairfield have been painted to look like little soldiers — take note. On your next walk or drive through town, look for the miniature soldiers smiling at you from the side of the road.
The fire hydrants are being painted to celebrate the town's 375th birthday, which occurs in 2014.
The woman behind the project is local resident Jean Harrison, 81. She originally began painting fire hydrants back in 1976 to celebrate the country's bicentennial. This year, the Selectman's Office approached her and asked whether she would be interested in painting the town in celebration once again.
At 81, Harrison does not feel that she herself could physically do the painting, so she decided to get the younger generation involved. Children from the Wakeman Boys and Girls Club and the local Boy and Girl Scout troops got to work painting this summer.
Harrison recalled putting a plan into action. "I said 'come over to my yard.' We have a sample there and I show them how to do it. There's seven pictures of the different steps of painting." The painting involves many steps, as each coat of paint must dry before a new color is applied.
"It's a process of painting and it's basically a labor of love," Harrison noted. She feels that the milestone birthday is extremely important.
People have been asking, "Oh, Jean, why are you painting the hydrants again?" And she just responds, "It's the 375th birthday of Fairfield next year! There's a great need for publicity on it."
The fire hydrants will remain painted as soldiers for about one year.
To get involved in the painting of the fire hydrants, contact the Fire Comission in order to get permission.