By Woodrow Polston
The Vandalia Area Historical Society Museum hosted a meeting to begin planning for the 150th anniversary of Vandalia’s founding on Saturday. Members of the Vandalia Area Historical Society were joined by members of various local groups and businesses to brainstorm for the 2024 event. Vicki Wright, president of the museum, said that she had spoken with numerous people about the upcoming event.
“I have visited with quite a few people over the last few weeks. They have given me a lot of ideas for us to work with,” said Wright.
Some of the ideas listed on a sheet for those attending the meeting included a contest for a 150th logo, that may be conducted by students at the school, a lawn of the week leading up to the event, a walking house tour, stage plays, an ice cream social, music entertainment and a tour of the Lincoln School. Paul Ray led the discussion on new ideas and possible leaders to help spearhead the plans.
“This is a brainstorming session to come up with ideas and to gather our thoughts,” said Ray. “Crazy ideas are welcome today but may not survive over time. The 100-year celebration in 1974 had a lot of energy and was a week of activities. We need to consider fundraising opportunities and what we may need to spend for the event,” he added.
Members discussed the possibility of having a train present because the town was founded as a result of the railroad traveling through the area. Baking contests were considered, and one member suggested a pie eating contest. An idea that seemed to be well received was a photo contest that would evolve into a calendar that could be sold as a fundraiser leading up to the event. A 5K was recommended and members agreed that someone should reach out to the YMCA to see if they would sponsor it. Members also discussed the possibility of joining the Prairie Days event in conjunction with the Sesquicentennial celebration.
An extensive list of local clubs and organizations was made to contact for request to help with the planning. It was agreed that the Historical Society should meet with the Chamber of Commerce before sending out the request for help with plans to the various organizations.
The next sesquicentennial planning meeting will be in October.