The Vermillion City Council gave thumbs up to $20,000 from the 2007 budget at Tuesday night's meeting. Prior to the vote, the council heard a budget presentation from sesquicentennial chairwoman Gloria Barnes and co-chair Kevin Jacobson. Other committee members are co-chair Cleo Erickson and Joe Reedy.
Mayor Dan Christopherson, who also serves on the sesquicentennial committee, said the group hopes eventually to receive $60,000 in city funds. The celebration could also receive grants, donations and revenue from souvenir sales and events, he said.
"The money that the council approved (this week) will help us with startup costs," the mayor said. "We can't obligate future councils for future funds, but we hope to see another $20,000 from the city in both 2008 and 2009."
By its completion, the sesquicentennial will have received five years of effort, Christopherson said. He credited Ted Muenster, executive director of the University of South Dakota Foundation, with alerting city officials in 2004 of the upcoming anniversary.
In talking with other communities, Barnes said she learned the importance of planning early and securing enough funds. While one community organized its 150th anniversary celebration in a year, those organizers advised against such short-term planning.
"I am glad that Dan (Christopherson) had the vision to start in advance so we have a really nice history book and calendar," Barnes said. "This will give something back to the community."
The celebration's main dates are Aug. 6-9, 2009, coinciding with the all-school-reunion and Clay County Fair, Christopherson said. However, the sesquicentennial will feature events each month of the year, running from New Year's Eve 2008 to New Year's Eve 2009.
Vermillionaires and their guests will also have fun throughout the year, with a number of special events, Christopherson said. "We may have big name concerts, depending on how the budget goes," he said. "This (anniversary) is great for the community. We need to celebrate ourselves once in a while."
The pictorial history book and calendar are also stimulating a great deal of interest among people of all ages, Barnes said. The Clay County Historical Society will underwrite the book for $25,000, with the sesquicentennial committee covering the other $5,000, she said.
"Tom Thaden is a local resident and historian who is editing and working with the final part of the book project by selecting pictures and writing captions," Barnes said.
"We are extremely lucky in Vermillion to have so many talented individuals willing to devote their time," she said. "Judge Arthur Rusch has written articles about early Vermillion and speaks to classes."
While the sesquicentennial looks to the past, it also showcases Vermillion's present and future, the mayor said. "This is like a wedding or a high school graduation in the family, and you are getting the house ready for it," he said. "It's the same way for the city. This is our 150th birthday, and we are getting ready for it."