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VAHS sets plans for Vandalia’s Sesquicentennial celebration

Posted on Thursday, November 23, 2023 at 11:05 am

By Rennie Davis

The Vandalia Area Historical Society’s monthly meeting was called to order by President Vicki Wright at 9 a.m. at the Charlene Teague Genealogy Center on Main Street with 19 people in attendance. Vicki thanked everyone who put out the signs announcing the meeting.

Secretary Joy Davis read the minutes from the previous meeting, and they were approved as read. Joy also stated there were several sesquicentennial souvenirs for sale to include T-shirts, challenge coins, etched wine glasses, rock glasses, stemless wine glasses, coffee mugs, beer mugs, garden flags, key chains and ornaments. Items range from $10 – $15. Vicki Wright said the general fund had $20,107.46 and the 150 Fund had $5,695.10.

Vice President Paul Ray then opened the floor to discussion about Vandalia’s 150th Celebration Project. A current project list with the contact person or organization sponsor for each event was handed out.

Paul said everything would kickoff with the Sunday, Jan. 21 soup/sandwich meal from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. A card party will follow the meal along with a silent auction.

Paul said he was submitting some financial grant applications, and Wright was taking care of the 150/150 fundraiser. Paul said he would write some articles for the Vandalia Leader and the People’s Tribune, Teresa Wenzel would take care of the Facebook Page, Vicki would coordinate the group’s efforts with City Hall and the Vandalia Chamber of Commerce.

The next events will be held on Saturday, Aug. 10, the actual date of the sesquicentennial and would include the much-anticipated opening of the time capsule.

All events will be held at Tri-County Park and could include a swimming pool party, kids’ games, live music, a cornhole tournament. Ice cream for the event, sponsored by Cordelio Power, would be made by Marvin Kemp of the Amish Community. There would also be an edible cake decorating contest, sponsored by the local DAR chapter would go along with the ice cream.

A Little Miss and Mr. contest, sponsored by the Alethea Club, would also be held that day. A food truck is scheduled to be available on the grounds. All events are free to the public, except for the food truck.

There are other events that might take place during Prairie Days. Cami Blackman from the Chamber of Commerce was in attendance to help coordinate. She said that Friday, Sept. 27 would be the beginning with Homecoming at Van-Far High School that evening along with a parade.

Saturday, Sept. 28 starts with a 5K run/walk at the YMCA. The Prairie Days parade will begin at 11 a.m. with a Sesquicentennial theme. In conjunction with that would be many vendors along with a cornhole tournament, a car cruise and a horseshoe tournament.

Also, the Chamber has scheduled Becky Denton, The Cherry Pistols and Ruby Lee of NBC’s “The Voice” for entertainment. There might be some options on Sunday to include Van-Far Alumni events and their banquet.

Other scheduled events include a Toby and Susie Show, getting organized by Gary Fowler, a photo contest, a beard growing contest, museum displays curated by Vicki Wright and a traveling trunk history show by Mike Ray.

Downtown windows would be decorated for the 150th Celebration and there would also be a downtown and business window painting with murals and artist competition. A clean-up Vandalia Project is scheduled in the spring by the La Femmes Arts Club.

Mary Wallace would oversee signs and posters and Ann Kohl is working on street banners. Mary presented a sample poster to the group. Linda Klug would also help with this project.

Events are still being planned and volunteers are needed. To volunteer on any project, or to buy souvenirs, contact Wright at 573-721-8074 or Teresa Wenzel at 573-975-3305.