ESCANABA - With almost a month to go before the celebrations officially kick off, members of the Esky 150 Committee are finalizing plans for the Escanaba Sesquicentennial Celebration from July 5-14.
According to Pat Baribeau, chair of the Esky 150 steering committee, organizers are currently in the process of finalizing a souvenir book for the sesquicentennial to be available at the end of June, but right now the group's main goal is to secure volunteers.
The committee is looking for help in controlling traffic; staffing information booths and the first aid tent; monitoring the inflatables for kids; assisting with the parade, pet parade or children's parade; helping with the Eagles lumberjack breakfast; helping with the Venetian Night Parade of Boats; and working at the senior social and all-school reunions. They are also in need of announcers to introduce acts during the celebrations and volunteers to help the Delta County Historical Society on its Historic Home tours, help decorate for a barn dance, and clean up after the events.
"We need around 250 people," said Baribeau. "We've already had some folks step forward."
Those interested in volunteering can sign up by visiting the Esky 150 website at www.esky150.org or by leaving a message by calling 786-0631.
Organizers are also looking for help in determining what items to put inside the sesquicentennial time capsule, which will be buried on the final day of the celebration, July 14, and won't be opened until 100 years from now.
A meeting will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Delta County Historical Society Archives building located on Water Plant Road for those interested in providing input on what to place inside the capsule, donated to the Esky 150 by Jeff Waeghe of Skradski-Boyce Funeral Home in Gladstone.
"The capsule will most likely be buried down at the municipal dock next to or near the one that was buried in 1963," said Baribeau.
"There won't be any opening of time capsules though because the one in 1963 was scheduled to be opened in 100 years, so it won't be opened for another 50 years."
The committee has also made some recent additions to the schedule of events during the celebration including day and night time viewings of the stars and planets at Ludington Park, courtesy of the Delta Astronomical Society. Kayaks will also be available at the park for those interested.
The celebrations officially begin Friday, July 5 with the opening parade followed by a BB Secrist 1950s Concert at the bandshell. Other events occurring throughout the celebrations include a half-marathon race, kids activities in the park, lumberjack shows, historical home tours, water-ski shows, the Venetian Night Parade of Boats, a senior social, all-school reunions, and multiple concerts. There will also be a picnic sponsored by the Daily Press and Elmer's County Market, a business and industry social, golf tournament, beach carnival, barn dance, and much more. The celebration will also coincide with the Maritime Festival and the dedication of the new Besse Playground and Delta County Historical Museum. For a complete list of events, visit www.esky150.org.
According to Baribeau, the community has really stepped up to get involved in the Sesquicentennial Celebration.
"You can't even name the people who've been involved because there are hundreds and you would certainly miss somebody," she said. "The entire community has stepped forward with different groups sponsoring different events. Businesses have stepped forward with finances so money and time have been generously donated. We are really looking forward to it."
Baribeau reminds visitors from outside the area to book their hotel rooms soon since the last time the committee checked, hotels and motels in the area were 85 percent occupied during the time of the sesquicentennial.
"We want to think of this as a big family reunion of the people that grew up in Escanaba," said Baribeau. "It's really been centered around Escanaba and the people who grew up here and have lived here or are living here, so we would encourage people to come back and see what Escanaba has to offer. You might be pleasantly surprised at where we're going. Our theme is 'Honor the Past, Celebrate the Present, and Look to the Future,' and I'm optimistic about Escanaba right now."