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Jennifer Coppes (left) and Jessica Ramey pose next to a late 1800's fire wagon. The wagon was made by Rumsey Fire Engine Co. of Seneca Falls, N.Y. It was a hand-drawn wagon that held a pumper or ladder. Ramey is Earlville's first female firefighter. NewsTribune photo/Scott Anderson
Schedule of events
Thursday, June 27 8:30 a.m. registration for the 3-on-3 basketball tournament for youth in grades 5-12 opens 5:30 p.m. Opening ceremonies featuring several speakers 6 p.m. Pony Express arrives 6-8 p.m. Children’s games and activities begin 6:30 p.m. Little Miss Earlville contest and introduction of former Little Miss and Little Mister winners. 7-8:30 p.m. Billie the Clown magic show and face painting 8-10 p.m. Street dance with disc jockey for children and teens.
Friday, June 28 Quilt show at the library all day and horse and carriage rides 4-5 p.m. Earlville native and storyteller Bill Myers 4-7 p.m. Youth groups will offer grilled steak or chicken dinner 5-8 p.m. Cruise night downtown 6-8 p.m. Magic by Cory 6:30 p.m. Former Miss Earlville winners 7:15 p.m. Terrie Whittaker performance 8-midnight Street dance with Abbynormal and beer garden
Saturday, June 29 Quilt show at the library all day and horse and carriage rides continue Illinois Fallen Heroes Traveling Memorial Wall in the park 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Flea market and craft show at Earlville School 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Youth water fights 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Bounce house, laser tag and video game truck in the park with wrist band day for the kids Noon-4 p.m. Water fights between local and area fire departments 1-2 p.m. Lions Club pedal pull 2 p.m. Stacy Grey facepainting 2-3 p.m. Community Choir performance 3-4 p.m. Bill Myers storytelling 4-6 p.m. Earlville native Mary Beth Norton performance 4:30-7 p.m. Lions Club pork chop dinner 8 p.m.-midnight Street dance and beer garden
Sunday, June 30 Illinois Fallen Heroes Traveling Memorial Wall in the park 8-10 a.m. Breakfast at Emmanuel Lutheran Church 10:30 a.m. Community church service in the park with performances by White Horse and the Community Choir 1 p.m. Parade 2-4 p.m. Pots and Pans Steel Drum Band performance 3 p.m. Birthday cake served in the park 3 p.m. Music by Tom and Diane Haggert
EARLVILLE — People from near and far will descend on Earlville to celebrate the city’s 150th anniversary June 27-30. Events celebrating the city’s founding and heritage start with a nod to previous anniversary celebrations when Illinois Valley Horseman’s Association board of directors saddle up for a Pony Express ride reminiscent of previous rides commemorating other landmark events in the city’s history. Ron Donahue and Steve Tuftie, two of the riders participating in the Princeton to Earville ride said the 150th route has been trimmed back a little bit from previous anniversary celebrations in order to avoid any large highways or heavy traffic. On Thursday, June 27, the pair will be joined by Brad Chapman, Craig Chapman, Harry Eager, Jim Kelly, Brian McNutt and Brad Tuftie. The riders will depart the U.S. Post Office in Princeton at 10 a.m. with stops along with way in Dover, LaMoille and Mendota before arriving in Earlville for the celebration’s opening ceremony. Tuftie said they hope residents will come to greet them at each of the stops. The riders will carry souvenir postcards with a special commemorative cancellation stamp issued by the U.S. Post Office before they continue on to their final destination. The riders also have souvenir bandanas with the city’s 150th logo available for children who greet them along the route. Donahue said they likely will travel along U.S. 34, but the exact route could change depending on weather and traffic. Once the riders arrive, they will join the opening ceremony where members of the 150th committee, local officials and mayors from surrounding towns have been invited to speak. After the more formal ceremony, the party begins with entertainment, children’s activities, a beer garden and a cruise night all packed into the four-day celebration. The history of Earlville is worth celebrating by current and former residents, based on the extensive collection of memorabilia and artifacts on display at the anniversary headquarters in the former Barrows Hardware store downtown. The store was loaned to the community by National Bank of Earlville and has been transformed over the past few months with items from the city’s past. Chris Goodbred said committee members have many items from Earlville Historical Society on display along with items on loan from private collections. “Look at how much we’ve gathered,” she said. “People just keep bringing stuff in. The response has been phenomenal.” Ladies hats and dresses made in Earlville’s shops are on display alongside uniforms from Earlville’s semi-professional baseball teams. Unusual items such as a copper still are found behind a roll-top desk that left town for a while, but found its way back home when the owner no longer had any use for it. A steam trunk almost unpacked from an early settler’s journey rests near the town doctor’s cane and other office items. “Dr. (Otto) Fischer was 7 feet tall,” Goodbred said. “He was a big man and when I was a kid I was afraid of him, but he was a very gentle man.” Memorabilia from private collections and attics around town are joined by those saved over the years by members of Earlville Fire Department. Jessica Ramey, the first woman to join the department in 2005, and her sister, Jennifer Coppes, discovered a partially restored fire wagon in storage. Members of the department have been working on finishing the restoration of what is believed to be an 1800s Rumsey ladder wagon. They hope to have it completed in time for the parade. “When these were designed, they didn’t have hoses,” Ramey said. “They had bucket brigades.” The women also discovered the city’s original fire bell in storage and plan to place it on top of the restored ladder wagon. The wood frame has been sanded and now waits a fresh coat of paint. Coppes has photos of the wagon before they started restoration so she can duplicate the pin striping and lettering that once adorned the wagon. The wagon should be one of many entries in the parade according to Rich Goodbred. He said invitations initially were sent to numerous local and area communities and organizations with just a trickle of responses. But now they are looking forward to one of Earlville’s largest parades to help cap the anniversary celebration. The fire department also received a tremendous response for the water fights between departments on Saturday. Ramey said they sent fliers to other member departments in the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System Division 25 region and also to other departments that have former Earlville residents on the rosters. The four-day celebration serves as a homecoming for many former residents. A Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Earlvilles-150-Celebration-2013 offers updates and additions to the current schedule of events. In all, the Goodbreds, along with the rest of the anniversary committee, are ready to welcome neighbors near and far to Earlville to celebrate the city’s first 150 years since it formally was organized in 1863. Tamara Abbey can be reached at (815) 539-5200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.