Plenty of reason, opportunity to celebrate 125th

Thursday, May 3, 2007

We overcame the odds to establish a thriving community on the Plains where hundreds of others failed. We survived the Depression and Dust Bowl years, recovered from the Flood of 1935 and more than did our part during World War II.

We made it through the turbulent 1960s, the oil booms and busts, plus bad times and good in the farm economy.

That should give us the confidence we need to overcome the challenges we know are coming -- and the unexpected ones as well.

If our history doesn't give us something to celebrate, we don't know what can.

The McCook Area Chamber of Commerce, other sponsors and participants are gearing up for one of the first big events of McCook's 125th birthday year, the Quasquicentennial celebration. (Have you learned how to pronounce it yet? How about spelling it?)

The "Party on the Bricks" kicks off at 3 p.m. Saturday in downtown McCook when 3,000 ping pong balls will drop from the sky, carrying many valuable prizes, including one with a grand prize trip to SolVista, Colo., for your choice of skiing or golf.

Venders are firing up the grills starting at 4 p.m., with treats such as burgers, fajitas, rib-eye steak or smoked pork chop sandwiches, pulled pork sandwiches, brats, polish sausage, funnel cakes and many other treats.

Facial follicles will be trimmed at 5 p.m. so participants have an even start for the beard growing contest, which will be judged during Heritage Days next fall, and the Chamber Beer Garden opens at 5 p.m.

Local band Blackwater Haze starts performing at 6:30 p.m., and eastern Nebraska's Slingshot takes over at 8 p.m.

The Party on the Bricks promises to get the Quasquicentennial off to a roaring start.

But it doesn't end there.

Look for a full year of activities, including vintage baseball and traditional Fourth of July activities, a special Heritage Days Sept. 29-30, fall extravaganza on Halloween, an old fashioned Christmas, and a governor's ball set for December.

Surely, McCook's 125th will be a memorable year, but to make it easier to recall, how about ordering a miniature sculpture of Sen. George Norris? Your $125 contribution will bring you a small pewter replica and help finance the full-size bronze that will be placed in front of the Norris House.

And, there's nothing like holding memories in your hand and enjoying them over and over. That's what's possible with the Gazette's "McCook Memories" book, now undergoing final revision. It will be available at the Gazette office at West 1st and E Street or by mail, by calling (308) 345-4500.

So come out and get involved. There's plenty to celebrate, and plenty of opportunities to do so.

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