Thanks for a great Lewis & Clark weekend by Mary Green Vickrey, chair, 2002 Vermillion Lewis & Clark Committee On a hot day Aug. 25, 1804, Lewis and Clark and a small party of men hiked from the Missouri River to the top of Spirit Mound. There they admired their first view of the beautiful open landscape of the Great Plains. The Bicentennial of their expedition will be commemorated from 2003 until 2006. A new Vermillion community event was unveiled Aug. 23-25 to prepare for this national commemoration.
The 2002 Vermillion Lewis & Clark Weekend was a great success. The variety of activities featured a tipi raising ceremony with a horse and dog travois; Native American educational tipi village, powwow, and artists; a Lewis & Clark re-enactors camp; a hike and guided bus trips to Spirit Mound; Missouri River paddle trips; a keelboat race and reception; and great food.
Attendance ranged from 75 on Friday morning for the tipi raising ceremony to at least 400 for the Saturday activities to 17 at the top of Spirit Mound on Sunday afternoon. In addition to revenue for Vermillion businesses, the weekend activities grossed over $2,200 in admissions, vendor fees, and grant moneys.
I would first like to thank the great committee I have had the privilege to chair. Tim Bellis created the W.H. Over Museum keel boat race and assembled the kits. Judy Clark worked with the S.D. Department of Transportation to move up their 2004 Highway 19 construction schedule to an earlier year and organized food for the dancers� meal. Casey Davidson researched the history of Vermillion clay.
Royce Engstrom set out signs and implemented and guided the hike to Spirit Mound. Wayne Evans envisioned the tipi village and powwow, put in hundreds of volunteer hours, and made the powwow an inviting event for all in his role as master-of-ceremonies. Kurt Hackemer was a great tour guide while fighting a cold. Maxine Johnson served as the liaison to the W.H. Over Museum Board. Jennifer Jones organized the Vermillion Area Arts Council reception.
Dave Lorenz served as the liaison to the Vermillion Area Chamber of Commerce Board. Candy Lubben endured the heat at Sioux City Rivercade. Sherry Nygaard got the posters up. Drake Olson got the Missouri River paddle trips added to the weekend. Mike Slattery provided temporary storage at SESDAC for the tipis and was a tireless worker on Saturday.
In addition to the committee, many groups contributed to the success. The students of the Oscar Howe Summer Arts Institute painted the beautiful tipis and Dean John Day helped to make that project happen. The W.H. Over Museum contributed summer-long Saturday-morning Lewis & Clark programs organized by Education Coordinator Karen Mahood. W. H. Over Museum Director Dorothy Neuhaus recruited Native American artists for Aug. 24.
The Vermillion Area Arts Council sponsored a reception for the keel boat builders on Aug. 23. Members of St. Paul�s Episcopal Church and the United Church of Christ-Congregational provided cornbread and bars for the dancers� meal. Lewis & Clark Committee chairs Skip Meisner of Sioux City and Carol Ryan of Yankton along with JoEllen Lindner of the Yankton Chamber of Commerce, made regional cooperation in promotion and planning a reality.
Funding came from the City of Vermillion through the Vermillion Area Chamber of Commerce and the W.O. Farber Center for Civic Leadership at the University of South Dakota.
Specific individuals also contributed. David Armstrong provided his truck to move the tipis numerous times. Kathy Armstrong Marmet of Baltimore, MD, wrote the S.D. Humanities and ARC grants and flew to Vermillion to work for the weekend. Barbara May and Doyle Pipe-on-Head designed the children�s model tipi activity. Barbara also endured the heat at Sioux City Rivercade. David Lias wrote two great front-page stories in the Plain Talk, while SD Public Radio Arts Advocate Susan Hanson did a great story. Kent Scribner wrote program copy on Spirit Mound, and Bill Willroth Sr. provided a great composite photo of Spirit Mound, complete with buffalo, for publication in the Plain Talk.
Beth Simmons assisted with graphics. Christina Wells and Ann Holtz assembled signs. Todd Brevik was great to work with on grounds set-up. Joe Grause provided the horse for the tipi raising ceremony. George Schlenker set up the sound system. Jim Peterson served as a bus guide.
Mike Chaney, Hannah Gehm, Rikesh Patel, and Kathy Chandler worked at admission tables. Betty and Larry Smith helped to serve the dancers� meal. Liz and Bob Woods continue to offer the wonderful shade of their yard as the site for the hikers� lunch. I would also like to thank others who contributed I may have overlooked.
The Vermillion businesses who were vendors for the event did a great job. The posters, programs, and food showed that Vermillion businesses can compete anywhere in quality and product.
Finally, I would like to thank the people of Vermillion who attended the Aug. 23-25 events. Local support for events and programs is crucial to their success.
Thanks again to all who made the 2002 Vermillion Lewis & Clark Weekend on Aug. 23-25 a great event!