Washington prepares to celebrate 175th birthday
WASHINGTON, Iowa (GTNS) — Fairfield isn’t the only local town celebrating its 175th birthday this year.
Fairfield’s neighbor to the north, Washington, will be the site of a birthday bash June 1-8.
Established and named in June of 1839, Washington will be celebrating its 175th birthday with a week of events, fun and games.
But first, a little history about the Washington County seat.
Until the advent of the railroad in the late 1850s, the town’s growth was slow and deliberate. A major influx of citizens began with the railroad’s presence in the community, and Washington grew accordingly.
One of the city’s centerpieces — the light-cycled fountain in Central Park — was added during the town’s centennial celebration. In 1989, the community’s sesquicennial, Sesquicentennial Park was added. The park is comprised of walking trails within a Prairie Grass Park located next to a longtime hiking attraction, Hayes Timber.
The 2014 event, organizers say, will focus on the changes in lifestyle of the past 25 years.
Athletic individual events are prominent in this year’s celebration as well as historic displays.
Artistic events include an all day “Sketch the Square” on Wednesday, June 4, as well as quilt-block making, children’s hands-on art events, a variety of music offerings and acknowledgment of Washington’s agricultural roots with a 175-tractor parade Thursday, June 5, beginning at 4 p.m.
Health and fitness will be focused on through family games and swimming. A throwback-uniform baseball game, with both teams wearing 1972 vintage uniforms, is set for 5:30 p.m. Friday, June 6.
An alumni football game with full pads pitting Washington against Mt. Pleasant begins at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 7. The game will feature graduates of the two high schools with players’ ages ranging upward to around 50 years of age.
Washington High School musicians will perform both band and jazz band concerts Sunday, June 8, followed by an alumni reception in Central Park following the concerts.
Saturday, June 7, the community will host Ridiculous Day, a tradition which began in Washington in the late 1940s.
The Ridiculous Day parade begins at 2 p.m., followed by the Bill Riley Talent Show at 3 p.m.
Other events on June 7 include a number of instrumental group performances by Midnight Special, a classic rock band, performing at 8:15 p.m. and Rubix Cube, billed as the ultimate 1980s tribute band, playing at 10:30 p.m.
Daily themes for the event include “On the Move Day,” June 1; “History Day,” June 2; “Business and Industry Day,” June 3; “Arts and Crafts Day,” June 4; “Ag Day,” June 5; Health and Fitness Day,” June 6; “Ridiculous Day,” June 7; “Living the Dream,” June 8.
For more information and a complete calendar of events, go to www.chamber.washingtoniowa.org/175th.