Labor Day event caps 150th birthday celebration
By Angie Stange
BRADFORD – Back track … late summer 2018 … a random Bradford person mentions, “Hey, isn’t next year the 150 birthday or Sequi-whatever anniversary of Bradford? I noticed the sign out west of town.” And so it began!
One year later through the efforts of so many, Bradford celebrated its Sesquicentennial in style. It took a lot of work from a lot of people but it happened in many ways and at many events that came to an enjoyable conclusion over Labor Day weekend.
A group of several residents decided to spruce up Main Street Bradford so word went out and, starting last August, folks donated hostas and daylilies to be planted under the trees on Main Street. Volunteers planted, watered, and babied those flowers to beautify the main drag.
Then discussion centered on a possible 150th celebration. What should be done? When should it be? How can it happen?
After several cancellations due to Bradford weather, a meeting was held at the Bradford Senior Citizen Center in February. Committees were formed and plans were underway for a Bradford 150 Celebration. No group was left out in the planning and instrumentation of the events that evolved from that meeting.
Volunteers once again came forward to pull weeds, plant flowers put out mulch and beautify Elsie Hodges Park in anticipation of upcoming events.
A Saturday Night Movie in the park was followed by the Boy Scouts cooking food for the first picnic in the park on the second Sunday of June. Flag Day was honored and a good crowd showed up to support Bradford and participate in games and other activities. There was awesome music to enjoy throughout the day.
The second weekend of July started with the Saturday movie in the park followed by Sunday‘s Taste of Bradford Picnic in the park with food provided by sponsored by Bradford’s Highlands and Snack Shack. And, of course, music and games were provided once again for the young and old and young at heart.
Aug. 13 was the official birthday of Bradford so on the weekend of Aug. 11-12 there was another movie night in the park with a giant screen and that month’s picnic had to be special. How else to do that other than free Dorgan Maid-Rites in the park! What a great turnout and day.
Rain pushed the community Sunday service over to the Methodist church across the street, but spirits were not dampened. The sun came out and all were able to participate in so many activities that day.
The Maid-Rites were a hit! Donations helped to raise money for a spectacular Labor Day Celebration last weekend.
The 150 Club could not coordinate all of this fun by themselves. They called upon the Betas, Lions Club other organizations and of course the Bradford Village Board to help out throughout the celebration activities.
Buck 50 was a special highlight of the 150 Celebration. This “horse” of a different species (he is made of straw, resembles a donkey, and is missing an ear but looks cute when decorated up) visited many residents throughout the month of August and is apparently still on the loose.
Then came Labor Day Weekend. Friday Night and Saturday afternoon pulled many community members and others into the 1930s and 40s with a dinner theater and matinee about the Bradford Model T girls, based on the book by Bradford native John Butte, “Darlene’s Silver Streak and the Bradford Model T Girls.”
The matinee was followed by a community picture on the football field and then at dusk Bradford hosted fireworks at the ballpark’
There were so many events in the Bradford Park and elsewhere over the weekend that it was overwhelming in community spirit and pride.
The Bradford Labor Day Parade boasted more entries than usual and several BHS classes hosted reunions over the weekend, which brought even more to the festivities of the Labor Day Weekend.
So in conclusion … this was Hot News from the Coldest Spot in Illinois and Good Times were had by all.