Sesquicentennial taking
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[JULY 18, 2003]  After over a year of meetings it is apparent that Lincoln's sesquicentennial committee has poured many hours of hard work into providing the city of Lincoln with an enjoyable and memorable 150th anniversary celebration. The committee meeting on July 16 showed how far they have come and how close they are to bringing their plans into reality.

The meeting began with the treasurer's report from Paul Short. The committee has brought in $53,678.02 in finances, while expenses currently are at $33,983.35. The total cost of the sesquicentennial will be over $100,000. Short said that when inflation is factored in, the cost of this year's event is comparable to the cost of Lincoln's 1953 centennial celebration.

Theresa Usherwood of the publicity committee said that ads for the sesquicentennial have been placed in a large number of magazines. Countries as far away as Wales and the United Kingdom have advertising about the celebration. In England a big story about Route 66 mentioned Lincoln's sesquicentennial.

Groups have contacted Usherwood, inquiring if they could set up booths at the celebration. The National Guard wants to set up a booth, and a vendor with a ring toss for kids wants to have a booth. Booths for vendors are available for a $25 fee. Nonprofit groups like the National Guard can have a booth at no charge.

Roger Matson, co-chair of the parade committee, said he expects about 50 entries in the parade. He currently is close to that number. The deadline for entering the parade is July 31.

Matson said that there are five or six bands in the parade and 11 floats. The senior citizens have an FX flatbed truck entered, with 16 seniors presently signed up to ride. Senior citizens have to be 75 years of age to ride in the parade. There will be miscellaneous floats sponsored by Logan Lanes, the Junior Woman's Club and the Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities. A float representing the 1953 centennial will be presented by the Lincoln High School class of 1953. Tom Cash will drive a 1953 Buick in front of a tractor pulling the float.

Heritage in Flight Museum has two antique Jeeps to drive. Four groups of horses will participate. Fifty tractors, some of them antiques, will also participate. There will be 16 antique cars.

Scully Park will be the site of events put on by the local railsplitting association. Members of the association will be in period clothing. They will make doughnuts and kettle popcorn and will have a large float. Railsplitters are coming from other places to help Lincoln celebrate the sesquicentennial.

Don Vinson, the other co-chair of the parade committee, reported that the Elk's Club golf pro, Adam Welch, had donated six gas-powered golf carts to provide transportation to the parade for people who need it. There will also be other vehicles to transport people with special transportation needs.

The committee indicated that they need some form of transportation for dignitaries to ride in. Convertibles, antique cars and even tractors are being considered.

Sharon Awe brought sesquicentennial cards and heavy sesquicentennial bags to show the committee. Awe said she is trying to figure out where and when to sell souvenirs. City merchants will sell the items during the day, so she is looking at where to sell them in the evenings. The committee will look at the possibility of keeping the art and balloon fest tent in Latham Park up throughout the week for souvenirs.

The committee chose to use Bobby Olson's pressed pennies, quarters and nickels as the sesquicentennial coins. Metal coins made by Olson will also be used. All of the coins will have Abraham Lincoln's image on one side. Olson has provided the committee with 450 coins and will provide more. Olson would like to have a booth at the celebration.

Charles Ott said that there will be a Lincoln look-alike contest for people from the community to participate in. Six Abraham Lincoln impersonators are coming, and two of them will walk in the parade. Ott said he would ask the Lincoln impersonators to judge the local contest.

Ethnic food chair Roger Bay said that railsplitters will put on demonstrations at the ethnic festival in Scully Park. He said the ethnic food will be located between the railsplitters and the flea markets in Scully Park. Ethnic food will be available from 4 p.m. to dusk on Friday evening, Aug. 29; from 11 a.m. to dusk on Saturday, Aug. 30; and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 31.

On Tuesday, Aug. 26, Jerry Berglin, manager of Friendship Manor, will have an open house from 2 to 4 p.m. There will be food, drinks, memorabilia from the 1953 centennial and a hot-air balloon.

In the evening of Aug. 26 there will be an 1860s baseball game, following the rules from that period. The rules of the game then were very different from the rules of the game today.


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Greg Pelc said the music lineup will include Christian Colton, a classical guitarist; a square dance demonstration; Petra, a Christian rock band; and Old Time Jam, which will be playing 1850 parade music for the ice cream social.

Pelc said the main stage needs a trailer of some kind where band members can change during their shows.

Shirley Bartelmay, chair of the Postville Cluster, said there will be a blacksmith, and Lee and Carol Schaffer will do wool dyeing, among other activities at the craft fair.

Five contestants are running for sesquicentennial queen.

For the interdenominational church service on Sunday, Aug. 31, in Latham Park, the Rev. David Hultberg of the Sherman United Methodist Church will serve as a circuit-riding preacher, reminiscent of the early chautauqua that was part of Lincoln's history. He will be riding Timex, the horse used for Abraham Lincoln to ride in the tourism video recently completed here in Logan County.

Mass choirs of both adults and children will provide special music, and members of the Lincoln clergy will conduct parts of the service. The Rev. Wallace Reifsteck (retired) and the Rev. Glenn Shelton, co-chairs of service planning committee, have sent a letter to all of Lincoln's pastors asking for their help and support.

Margaret Peifer said that following the 3 p.m. service there will be an old-fashioned chicken dinner at the Knights of Columbus Hall.

Paul Beaver, the history chair, said that the sesquicentennial book about the past 50 years in Lincoln is being typed by Rose Adams and will be sold at the celebration. The book will be a chronology of local events in the last half century.

Beaver also said that the Illinois Symphony Orchestra will bring 46 members to perform on the evening of Aug. 31.

Bobbi Abbott reported that Russell Stover has volunteered to have an information booth on their property. The business will allow people to use their facilities and will provide ice water to the booth volunteers. The booth, just off Interstate 55, will provide information to people as they exit I-55 and will be open on Wednesday, Aug. 20, through Aug. 31.

On Tuesday, Aug. 26, souvenir passports designed by Key Printing will be given out. By using these passports, people can get autographs from celebrities attending the celebration and stamps or souvenirs from businesses. There will also be a small business exposition and tours of businesses. Weyerhaeuser Corrugated has designed a Postville Courthouse model that will fold into a bank and will be given away.

Walt Landers and Bob Thomas reported on the plans for trash collection during the celebration. A report was also given on bathroom facilities. Marilyn Wheat said that Casey's and the Fifth Street Food Mart near Postville have offered their facilities for people to use. There will also be porta-potties available.

Kristy Lessen from Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Task Force asked the committee if the task force could have an alcohol-free activity for teenagers on one of the weekend evenings. She would like to have a battle of the bands. The task force has done this in the past at Latham Park.

The committee said that Latham Park would be available on Saturday from 8 until 11 p.m. The task force will check with the Logan County Board for permission to use the park.

The sesquicentennial committee still has a few technical issues to resolve, such as the number of two-way radios and public address systems needed. Also to be determined are what kinds of electrical needs they have.

The committee has planned a celebration filled with a variety of events. They have put a lot of time and work into planning the sesquicentennial. They will be meeting on a weekly basis beginning next week until the sesquicentennial is over.

[Don Todd]    

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