River Falls Birthday

University of Wisconsin - River Falls

September 15, 1997

River Falls Readies to Celebrate 150th Birthday

The city of River Falls is readying itself for a year-long bash in 1998 to celebrate its 150th birthday.

The preliminaries to the festivities will be held on Monday, Sept. 29, with the unveiling of the city's official Sesquicentennial Logo.

The unveiling will come during a Sesquicentennial information session set to begin at 7 p.m. at the Kruger Auction Services Building, 218 S. Main St. The event will include an update on planning activities, as well as hors d'ouevres.

Open to the community, there is no charge for the event. However, those who plan to participate are encouraged to call the Main Street Project Office so an attendance count can be taken for planning purposes. The office number is 715/425-8901.

The commissioning and unveiling of the logo is under the auspices of the River Falls Sesquicentennial Committee, which was appointed by the city council to coordinate the 150th birthday celebration.

A city-wide committee, it includes membership from the Main Street Project, represented by project manager Janet Olson-Halaas; the City of River Falls, represented by City Administrator Larry Thompson; River Falls Public Schools, represented by Jeanne Zirbel of Westside Elementary and district curriculum coordinator Lorraine Davis; the River Falls Historical Society, represented by Anne Krupkat; and UW-River Falls, represented by Public Affairs Director Mark Kinders.

Halaas said the unveiling and informational session will be the first public presentation on planning activities to prepare for the Sesquicentennial.

She said the committee has focused on ensuring there is continuity between the city's 150th birthday party and its past, using the theme of building to the future.

"The unveiling will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many of us to kick off the Sesquicentennial and celebrate the city's birthday. What we do over the next year-and those who participate-may well be the resource as River Falls next celebrates its Bicentennial in another 50 years."

Halaas notes the committee has been busy researching how the community celebrated its Centennial celebration in 1948, and hopes to gain participation from those individuals, businesses, institutions and community organizations that played a role in the last commemoration.

Among the many who have already stepped forward is Helen Wyman, who created many of the artistic motifs that were used to celebrate the Centennial. Wyman's artwork is being updated for the Sesquicentennial and will be featured on such souvenirs as note cards and placemats.

Wyman, along with Mayor Duane Pederson and UW-RF Provost Robert Milam, are the community representatives who will pull the lanyard that will unveil the logo.

Created by River Falls artist Dale Bohnert, the logo will be displayed widely across the community throughout 1998.

According to Halaas, the committee has set an ambitious agenda for 1998, and will use the unveiling ceremony to outline the activities and ask for widespread assistance to realize them.

Events already scheduled by the committee include:

  • May 29. A Wisconsin Sesquicentennial Founder's Day Observance.
  • Fourth of July. Old-fashioned Community Picnic.
  • Sept. 26-27. River Falls Sesquicentennial Celebration Weekend.
  • The committee also plans to sanction events sponsored by community organizations or businesses in 1998 that include a relationship to the 150th birthday celebration and encourage them to display the Sesquicentennial logo in their promotional activities.

    Volunteers also will be sought to serve on a variety of committees, including: publicity; projects administration; sanctioning of community events to use the Sesquicentennial logo; historical research for River Falls artifacts and memorabilia, and oral histories to incorporate into the celebration; and a souvenirs committee that will commission Sesquicentennial souvenirs, with profits earmarked for promotional activities.

    Finally, Halaas said, the committee has been making good progress on fundraising to help underwrite publicity and promotional efforts. Monetary contributions or in-kind services totaling more than $5,000 have already been pledged by First National Bank of River Falls, the River Falls Main Street Project, the River Falls State Bank, the River Falls Chapter of the Pierce County Historical Society, the Westconsin Credit Union, M&I State Bank, More 4 and Dick's IGA.

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