What is a Sesquicentennial, anyway?

For my sins, I have been asked to organize our county’s 150th birthday party.

It is true I enjoy reporting about local history in my weekly newspaper column, a gig that’s been running for over 11 years now. The reason I like to write about local history: usually no one is around to dispute my reporting, and if I write it carefully, giving careful attribution on dubious claims, I can refer criticism to my sources.

It is also true I chaired the local historical commission for what turned out to be a very long year.

But organizing a community-wide event is way outta my league.

I am reminded of a story my grandmother tells about my late grandfather, an avid fisherman. Early in their marriage they lived in Blanket, Texas which is up near Coleman, I think. My grandmother was startled to hear my grandfather telling everyone they met in town one Wednesday they were invited to a big fish fry the following Saturday.

“Granville,” my grandmother asked, “are you planning a fish fry?”

“Yes.”

“Who are you inviting?”

“The whole town.”

My grandmother’s eyes widened.

“Do you have any fish?” she asked.

“I’ll catch them Friday night.”

And he and some buddies did catch enough that Friday night to feed the whole town.

I’m sure my grandmother fussed at him from Wednesday until after the last guest left Saturday night. But he did get it done.

I’m planning something similar here in Kerr County for April 6-9, 2006. I’m planning a style show on Thursday, a musical review on Friday evening, a big parade on Saturday afternoon, a giant musical performance in the park Saturday evening (complete with fireworks), and a memorial service on Sunday afternoon. I have never planned any single one of the events before, and I have absolutely no money lined up. All of the events will be free and open to the public. I’m thinking the weekend will cost around $35,000 to produce.

Fortunately my lovely wife Carolyn is not fussing at me. Like the rest of the community, she expects I’ll get it all done in time, and with money left over.

So… it should be an interesting few months….

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