By Woodrow Polston
The Vandalia Area Historical Society was joined by members of various groups and organizations on Saturday at the Charlene Teague Genealogy Center. They had been invited to participate in the first of several planning meetings for the 2024 Vandalia Sesquicentennial celebration. President Vicki Wright welcomed everyone to the meeting.
“We welcome our guests this morning and thank you for coming,” said Wright. “I am going to ask that Paul Ray lead the discussion for our sesquicentennial planning after the reading of the minutes,” she added. Everyone present received a multiple-page document with ideas for possible fundraising options and attractions for the event. Ray, a historical society member, explained the goals of the meeting.
“We want to establish a level of commitment and determine what events will occur,” said Ray. “I believe we need to make sure that there is an emphasis put on the founder of Vandalia, Aaron McPike. Most people do not know that the town originally had the nickname ‘Pike City.’ I think we need to keep that educational aspect in mind as we go through the planning phase. We feel that organizing for this event right now is important because we have to establish a budget for the event and begin our fundraising efforts. We need to divide and conquer when it comes to organizing the many events that will make up the sesquicentennial celebration,” he added.
Some of the activities on the list for the event included a parade with historical floats, a historical stage play, an era clothing contest, a beard contest, a walking home tour, a pie eating contest, an ice cream social, a dog and horse show and many others. Several guests agreed to take on certain tasks for the event. Ray said that it was crucial to establish ownership of the proposed events.
“It is important that we as individuals and organizations look at this list today and determine what might work. We can brainstorm and take it back to our organizations. We have already targeted Aug. 10, 2024, for the ice cream social. We have also targeted the Sept. 28, 2024, Prairie Days weekend for events. The reason that we are looking at the Aug. 10 date, is because that is the official anniversary of the organization date of Vandalia. It is also conveniently on a Saturday in 2024,” said Ray.
Joy Davis said that she has been in contact with the art teacher at the Van-Far High School to have students participate in a logo contest to design the 150th logo. Wright added that there are $150 memorial donation blocks that are available.
“Both individual and family names can be done on the block,” said Wright. “We are still working on deciding what kind of material we want to use for these memorial blocks. They will be on permanent display here in the museum,” she added.
The meeting adjourned at approximately 10:40 a.m. The next planning meeting will take place on Jan. 14, 2023, at the Charlene Teague Genealogy Center.