Fairfield prepares for 175th anniversary celebration
In 1839 the U.S. flag held 26 stars — Iowa would not be represented on Old Glory as a state for seven more years – and Fairfield and Jefferson County were established in the 1-year-old Territory of Iowa.
The community is celebrating its 175th birthday, honoring Fairfield’s past, present and future Thursday through Sunday.
“Fairfield is proud to celebrate our great heritage and reflect on the blessings our city has received over the 175 years since its founding,” said Mayor Ed Malloy. “The progress the city is making in this generation will be an important part of the legacy we pass on to future generations. I hope everyone will come out and celebrate our milestone achievement this weekend.”
A wine and cheese reception open to the public kicks off the birthday party 4:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday at Carnegie Historical Museum, featuring the premier showing of the Lee Gobble collection of historic photos and postcards as well as the vintage display cabinets from Fairfield’s former Gimbel’s Jewelry. At 5:30 p.m. Thursday, a ceremony at the museum will unveil a new bench and lamp pedestal constructed from Barhydt Chapel stone.
Friday, Fourth of July
Fairfield 1st Fridays Art Walk’s “PARTY in the Park” begins at 5 p.m. Friday, Independence Day, in Central Park, showcasing Fairfield’s cultural traditions with art and music on the square and an historic photo display.
Pieces of Fairfield history are on display throughout the weekend at Iowa State Construction on the west side of the square. A digital slide show of historic photos will be on display along with old maps, newspapers and other memorabilia. Items were collected from local residents, businesses and historians and are on loan for the duration of the weekend.
Some of the photos have been enlarged by French-Reneker Associates Inc. and are on display in the windows of many businesses on the square. The photos depict the evolution of the Fairfield square from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s.
The presentation of the colors at the Ron Prill Bandstand will be followed by a special recognition of all veterans in attendance at 6 p.m. Friday.
The evening also will include vendors, food, children’s activities, featuring Fairfield’s magician Luke Hillis performing in the Kids Korner and around the square.
A special scavenger hunt will be available throughout businesses during the art walk, including the Orpheum Theater, Carnegie Historical Museum, ICON Gallery and the Fairfield Art Association.
At 6:30 p.m. Fairfield native C.J. Gaston will perform in the bandstand for an hour with his guitar and singing.
At 8 p.m. Friday, Iowa Rock & Roll Hall of Fame musician Kevin King and the All Iowa All Stars band will be rocking out 1960-70s era music until 10 p.m.
Fairfield’s traditional Fourth of July fireworks are delayed one day to Saturday night. Cypress Villages Subdivision, north of Fairfield on Highway 1 and Richland each will have fireworks displays Friday night.
The celebration continues Saturday with Fairfield Farmers Market, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Howard Park. Nauvoo on the Road, from Nauvoo, Illinois, will be featured at Howard Park during market time. It is an historic performing group demonstrating pioneer crafts such as rope and soap making, with games and activities for children and adults to participate hands-on.
Maasdam Barns will host an antique tractor show from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.
Fairfield’s historic photo display continues from 9 a.m. to noon at Iowa State Construction.
A 2 p.m. parade has been canceled.
Waterworks Park and the adjacent Old Settlers Park are the site for Saturday’s celebration events. Festivities begin at 4 p.m. with food vendors available, children’s activities, historic games, tours of Bonnifield Log House and more.
Area musicians and country dancers will be on hand to entertain the crowd. Jefferson County Green Band will perform at center stage 4:30-6 p.m. at Waterworks Park. A welcome ceremony is at 6 p.m. and East of Omaha Band plays 6:30-9:45 p.m., followed by the largest fireworks display Fairfield has ever hosted.
Food will be available throughout the evening Saturday.
The Fairfield square will be filled with cars for the Fairfield 175th Celebration Car Show, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, presented by Andy Nelson and Heartland Rod & Custom.
The show will feature antique, classic cars and trucks, street machines, street rods, muscle cars, imports, pro-street, special interest, motorcycles and tractors. Entry fee to display a vehicle is $10. This show is will be presenting special awards only, no classes.
Food and merchandise vendors will be available at the square.
Fairfield’s historic photo and memorabilia display continues from 9 a.m. to noon at Iowa State Construction.
Country Music Association country artist Jake McVey will perform the national anthem at 1 p.m. Sunday, followed by an acoustic concert until 3 p.m.
The drawing for the 175th commemorative quilt will be held following the national anthem, at approximately 1:15 p.m. Sunday.
Quilt raffle tickets can be purchased at O’Grady’s Cleaners. Funds raised from the raffle will help defray expenses from the weekend, and proceeds will be donated to historical renovation. Raffle tickets, along with commemorative T-shirts, candles and crocks will be on sale throughout the weekend.
T-shirts also are available at the customer service desk of Fairfield Hy-Vee Food and Drug Store, Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce and at Fairfield City Hall.