Vermillion at 150: A three-day party Rains donâ�?�?t dampen festivalâ�?�?s spirit By Patrick Morrison
Plain Talk "Rain, rain, go away," may have been on the minds of many Vermillion residents Thursday evening, Aug. 6, but that didn't dampen their enthusiasm for the opening event of the Sesquicentennial weekend. The Sesquicentennial Community Barbeque was the first of many events designed to celebrate Vermillion's 150th birthday, Vermillion Mayor Dan Christopherson said. "Everybody likes to break bread together, whether you are a family, a couple or a community," Christopherson said. "This is a chance for the community to have a meal together, enjoy our beautiful park and utilize the effort of many members of our community." Christopherson said organizers hoped to serve close to 2,000 people a meal of pork loin sandwiches, sides and a piece of Vermillion's "150th Birthday Cake." The meal was sponsored by Bank of the West, CorTrust Bank, First Bank and Trust, First Dakota National Bank and the Vermillion Credit Union. "They are the reason why we're able to have a free barbeque and a substantial barbeque at that. We are able to have nice pork sandwiches, sides and cake because of their generosity," Christopherson said. Bob Macy, vice president of Cortrust Bank, said he was approached by the Sesquicentennial Executive Committee to help sponsor the barbeque over a year ago. "We were more than happy to do our part to support the sesquicentennial," Macy said. "It exposes our employees and our bank to more people, gets us more involved in the community and the community involved with us." Jere Chapman, owner of Cherry Street Grille and the Roadhouse, said his catering company cooked, smoked and sliced close to 160 pounds of pork for the event. "It's a relatively simple menu, but there is just a lot of it. It's not everyday you cook for 500 people," Chapman said. Chapman said he was pleased with the organization and planning of the event as well as its overall message. "These types of things bring the community together," he said. "To get this many people out on an August afternoon with the threat of rain is great. How can you not get a feeling of community?" Cherry Street Catering was joined by Hy-Vee, Jones' Food Center and Aramark, with Jones' Food Center and Hy-Vee preparing the Sesquicentennial birthday cake. Also in attendance at Thursday's barbeque was Salt Lake City-based artist Brian Baity. In honor of Vermillion's Sesquicentennial, Baity said he created a hand-carved ostrich egg depicting scenes from Vermillion's past. "My family settled here many years ago and my dad was born here," Baity said. "I reconnected with the community when I returned to town for the funeral of my great uncle, and I offered to donate a piece of art commemorating this event." Baity, who has sold his work to buyers from Utah to Ireland, said he researched Vermillion's past and decided to incorporate carvings of the old city hall, the pasque flower and Old Main on the University of South Dakota, among others. "It's a tribute to the fact that my family has been here for 80, 90, 100 years," he said. The Sesquicentennial celebration continued through Sunday, with events held across Vermillion, Christopherson said. Much of Friday was devoted to the Vermillion All-School Reunion, with individual class reunions held during the day and into the evening. Saturday's events began with a 5K "Fun Run/Walk" at 9 a.m. in Prentis Park and Young Eagle Airplane Rides from 9 a.m. to noon at the Vermillion Municipal Airport. The Sesquicentennial Parade began at 10 a.m. in Downtown Vermillion and featured a Banjo Band from Sioux City, the Vermillion High School Marching Band and the Corn Palace Hillbillies from Mitchell, among others. Sunday's activities took place at the Vermillion Airport. Events include a Fly-In breakfast, a military fly-over and an air show performed by two private companies.