Historic Heritage Days festivities planned for 2007

Friday, September 7, 2007

Start getting ready, ladies and gents! McCook is making preparations for one of the largest Heritage Days celebration in the community's history. In less than three weeks' time, Heritage Days 2007 will begin with five days of activities.

The festivities will begin with the Chamber Honor Family Mixer Wednesday, Sept. 26 at the McCook National Bank and will run through the final day of the Heritage Days Arts & Crafts Fair Sunday, Sept. 30 at Norris Park.

The occasion is a special one. This year -- 2007 -- is McCook's quasquicentennial, which, in case you haven't heard, means this is McCook's 125th anniversary.

The town was born in 1882 as a division point on the Burlington & Missouri Railroad, and quickly became the trade center for the southwest corner of the still young state of Nebraska.

Now -- as the New Millennium unfolds -- the celebration planners are gearing up for a memory-making 125th anniversary show.

To begin with -- and this is an extra special coup for the celebration -- Heritage Days officials have secured two of McCook's most famous alumni as the Grand Marshals for the parade on Saturday morning, Sept. 29th. Be looking for the announcement ... which is coming soon ... but suffice it to say at this point that the grand marshals are big leaguers in every sense of the word.

That's just one of many things which will make this year's Heritage Days celebration special. Added to that is the fact this year's parade is shaping up as one of the biggest ever, with the Chamber's executive director, Pam Harsh, reporting expanded entries from dazzling restored cars and interesting antique tractors, plus dozens of other businesses, bands and specialty parade participants.

Of great historic interest -- and lasting tourism value -- this year's celebration will feature the dedication of "The Statesman," the life-size sculpture of U.S. Sen. George Norris sitting on a park bench. Conceived and created by two McCook-born sculptors, Gary Ginther and Jon Leitner, the sculpture will be dedicated at noon Saturday, the 29th.

Then, that evening, former Nebraska Senator Dave Landis will portray Norris in a special performance at the Fox Theater.

That's just a small sampling of all that will be going on. There will also be a program Thursday, the 27th, at Norris Park, starting with an old-fashioned box supper at 6 p.m. The Thursday evening's activities will also feature an auction of the McCook Art Guild's "Buffy Bison" statuettes and a vintage style show, co-sponsored by the 125th Anniversary Committee and the Order of the Eastern Star.

Another special happening will be the Quilt Raffle, made possible by the efforts of the Piecemakers Guild. Funds raised will help pay for the 125th Anniversary activities which started in January and will conclude with the Governor's Ball Dec. 8th.

That's a lot ... but there will be more, much more at the 2007 Heritage Days celebration. Plan now to take part and invite your friends and family members from far and near to join you. McCook's having a party and everyone's invited to help celebrate the town's 125th birthday.

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