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Colfax Sesquicentennial begins a week from Thursday

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX —  The Colfax Sesquicentennial has been in the planning stages for the last year — and now it is just around the corner.

Calls for volunteers to help plan the Sesquicentennial yielded six people who were willing to be on the planning committee and to attend meetings regularly.

About 80 people were listed as being members of the planning committees for the Colfax Centennial in 1964.

 On several occasions, community members have expressed disappointment that the sesquicentennial committee had not planned for women to be dressed as pioneers or had not planned a beard contest for men — as was done during the Colfax Centennial — but with so few people willing or able to volunteer their time to coordinate the effort, no such contests were able to be planned.

Most of the six committee members work full-time jobs, and in some cases two jobs, and there are, after all, only so many hours in the day.

Be that as it may, committee members have worked diligently to schedule a variety of events.

During the day on Saturday, July 19, a shuttle bus will be available to bring visitors back and forth from the downtown area to the Colfax Fairgrounds.

Traffic on Main Street in Colfax will be detoured from 9 a.m. until midnight on Saturday, July 19.

The detour will take traffic onto Railroad Avenue to county Highway M and back out to state Highway 40.

Thursday, July 17

The Colfax Sesquicentennial kicks off on Thursday, July 17.

The Colfax Railroad Museum will be open for tours from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. that day.

For those who would like to take a stroll around the village, Walking Tours of the Historic Stone Buildings are a self-guided way to see Colfax. Brochures are available at the Colfax Railroad Museum, the Colfax Messenger, and Colfax Arts and Antique Mall.

From 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., the Colfax Public Library will be holding a LEGO contest.

The kickoff event for the Colfax Sesquicentennial will begin at 6 p.m. in Tower Park next to the Colfax Municipal Building.

The kickoff will include a proclamation from the governor, speeches by local officials, burying the Colfax Time Capsule, and Music at the Park with the White Pine Ramblers, a Dixieland jazz ensemble whose members play with the Ludington Guard Band in Menomonie.

The Colfax History Room upstairs next to the auditorium in the Colfax Municipal Building will be open for visitors before, during and after Music in the Park. A DVD player also will be set up with pictures from the Colfax Centennial and the June 4, 1958, Colfax tornado.

Friday, July 18

The Colfax Public Library will be giving tours of the library and the Colfax Municipal Building all day on Friday. Ice tea and treats will be available in the library.

From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Colfax Health and Rehabilitation Center will be holding a thrift sale at the old facility on University Avenue.

At 9 a.m., the Time Travelers Club will be setting up their living history Civil War display at the Colfax Fairgrounds. The display will include presentations and hands-on events during the day along with a Civil War cannon and other artillery. Minus the projectile, of course, the cannon will be shot off several times Friday and Saturday.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Grapevine Senior Center on Main Street in Colfax will be holding a hospitality open house. Greet old friends, meet new ones, and sit down for a while to visit over coffee and treats.

On Friday, the Colfax Railroad Museum will again be open for tours from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. While you are there, pick up your brochure for the Walking Tour of Historic Sandstone Buildings in Colfax. Or stop across the street at the Messenger to pick up a brochure. Or stop downtown for coffee at Lynn’s Brewed Awakenings and then visit the Colfax Arts and Antique Mall next door and pick up a tour brochure.

The Colfax History Room upstairs in the Colfax Municipal Building will be open to visitors from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday.

Colfax Health and Rehabilitation Center will be holding a pig roast and a picnic from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday. If you have not done so previously, now is your chance to visit the new facility on the south side of town.

Vintage Base Ball

Vintage Base Ball is coming to Colfax for the Sesquicentennial. Come and see how base ball (two words in those days) was played at the time the first settlers arrived in Colfax in 1864.

The Menomonie Blue Caps will be playing the Colfax 150s at 6 p.m.

The game will be played — we hope! — at the practice field at Colfax High School.

The location could be changed, however, depending on how the cleanup of the school’s ball fields goes following the tornado in Colfax on June 27 that caused significant damage to the school and the ball fields.

A kickball tournament will be starting at Tom Prince Memorial Park at 6 p.m.

A DJ will be providing music at Tom Prince Memorial Park beginning at 9 p.m., and the kickball tournament will finish at 10 p.m.

Saturday, July 19

Begin the day with a pancake breakfast at the Colfax Fairgrounds from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.

The pancake breakfast will be sponsored by the Colfax Rural Lutheran Parish.

When you’ve had your fill of pancakes, be sure to stop and see the Time Travelers Civil War living history display as well. They will have a variety of events for adults and children. And get ready for the ka-boom of the Civil War cannon.

A blacksmith will be set up at the fairgrounds, too, to show you how the art of blacksmithing was practiced in “the good old days.”

Once again on Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Colfax Health and Rehab will be holding a thrift sale at their old facility on University Avenue.

The arts and craft show will be open at the fairgrounds from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Colfax History Room will be open at the Colfax Municipal Building from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday.

The Grapevine Senior Center will be holding another hospitality open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

The Colfax Railroad Museum will be open for tours from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

And the Colfax Rescue Squad will be holding an open house from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the rescue squad building on Railroad Avenue.

J.D. Simons

On Saturday morning, July 19, at 9 a.m., there will be a dedication ceremony at Hill Grove Cemetery on county Highway BB for J.D. Simons, the founder of Colfax.

For reasons that will probably forever remain a mystery, there is no gravestone at the cemetery for Mr. Simons, who died in 1918.

Mary Simons, J.D.’s wife, is buried at Hill Grove and there is a family stone for the Simons family and a smaller stone for Mary. But there is no stone for J.D.

Unfortunately, Mary Simons died before the Colfax Messenger started in 1897, so there is no obituary available for her.

Local historian Troy Knutson raised funds from the community to buy a gravestone for J.D. Simons.

Hill Grove Cemetery is several miles west of Colfax on county Highway BB.

Sesquicentennial Parade

Line-up for the Colfax Sesquicentennial Parade will begin at 9 a.m. at Colfax High School.

The theme for parade units is Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.

The parade will begin at 11 a.m., and the route will be along University Avenue to Main Street to Railroad Avenue to the Colfax Fairgrounds.

After the parade, a car show will set up in downtown Colfax.

The tractors will set up for a tractor show at the fairgrounds.

The Colfax History Room will once again be open from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Colfax Municipal Building.

At 3 p.m. in the Colfax Municipal Building Auditorium, James Nelson will perform Scandinavian folk music, history and folklore. His performance will include a sing-a-long.

All afternoon and on into early evening downtown on Saturday, July 19, there will be kids’ games, food vendors, music on stage (Herrick and Friends will begin at 6 p.m.), and a chicken dinner and pork sandwiches prepared by Colfax’s very own chef extraordinaire — Steve (Tiny) Nichols. (Those who have tasted Steve’s chicken consistently describe it as “the best chicken I’ve ever eaten.”)

The Dweebs

The culmination of Saturday’s events will be The Dweebs performing live in downtown Colfax at 9 p.m.

The Dweebs, a Wisconsin-based band, feature five family members and two family friends. The group performs a wide variety of music from country to rock to modern hits.

According to their website, “From grandparents to grandkids, teenagers to adults, no one is left out when The Dweebs come to town.”

Sunday, July 20

On Sunday, July 20, the Colfax Railroad Museum will again be open for tours from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

At 10 a.m., Holden Lutheran Church, north of Colfax on county Highway M, will celebrate its Sesquicentennial with a worship service and dinner to follow.

From noon to 2 p.m., Colfax United Methodist Church will be holding an ice cream social.

From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., the Colfax History Room at the Colfax Municipal Building will be open.