Ray Berg

Manchester Begins Planning for its 150th Birthday!

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Manchester circa 1867, the year our village was incorporated.

Manchester circa 1867, the year our village was incorporated.

Are you ready for a 150th birthday party? The Manchester Area Historical Society (MAHS) and the Village of Manchester are in the beginning stages of planning for a Sesquicentennial Celebration in honor of the 150th anniversary of the incorporation of Manchester as a village which occurred in March, 1867. Similar to our 1967 Centennial Celebration, as described in Marie Schneider’s Manchester’s First Hundred Years – 1867-1967, a wide variety of events are being planned.

The Historical Society, Village Council and the Downtown Development Authority have all generated ideas and now are seeking community input and volunteers to begin laying the groundwork for the events. The proposed dates for the celebration are Tuesday, August 1, 2017 through Tuesday, August 8, 2017 which will center it around the annual Run Manchester/Manchester Street Festival scheduled for August 5, 2017.

The Historical Society and the Village will serve as co-planners and co-funders for the event. The MAHS Kingsley-Jenter Home at 302 E. Main will serve as a central location for events and planning. The Historical Society and Village will work with the Run Manchester/Manchester Street Festival organizers to build and fund a continuous and varied set of activities that will appeal to and draw in large numbers of local residents and visitors for both the traditional activities and venues of the Run/Festival as well as historical-themed events before, during and after.

The intent of the Sesquicentennial Celebration is to:

  • Recognize and promote Manchester’s unique history, and develop a greater outreach to community members concerning our history, particularly younger generations.
  • To promote greater Manchester participation in local events, and to preserve and appreciate how we arrived at where we are today.
  • To promote historical tourism and attract a large number of out-of-area persons to come to Manchester and experience what we have.
  • To inspire former Manchester residents to return during this period to their former community and reconnect with where they came from and what we are doing today.

Possible events identified to date include:

  • Historic-themed open houses, presentations and displays. The Manchester DDA is seeking Community Tourism Action Plan (CTAP) funding in 2016 for historical sign plaques and development of a historical walking tour guide.
  • Antique appraisers on hand at the Kingsley-Jenter Home – “Antique Road Show”
    19th century meal preparation and gathering
  • Historic home tours
  • Sesquicentennial Parade
  • Historic baseball games – celebrating Manchester’s former baseball bat factory
  • Regional volleyball tournament around the town
  • Replicating the Manchester 1872 Birds Eye View portrait with a 2017 Birds Eye View equivalent
    Sesquicentennial celebration ball – historic dress
  • “Centennials Reunion” – Participants in the 1967 Centennial celebration reunite, and we invite former residents to return and reconnect
  • A Sesquicentennial celebration booklet – 1967 vs 2017 – then and now downtown , as well as photos and descriptions of the events
  • Canoe race – Will the Riverfront Park be opened by then?
  • Agriculture day
  • Industry Open House Day

The planners are seeking YOUR ideas, and want YOU to bring your skills and interest to the organization and execution of Manchester’s Sesquicentennial. Please contact Ray Berg at 734-428-7705 or email at raymondmberg@gmail.com, and let’s get started!

Manchester circa 1900.

Manchester circa 1900.

"Brothers of the Brush" marching in the 1967 Centennial Parade

“Brothers of the Brush” marched in the opening day parade of the Centennial celebration in 1967. Leading the group were the six pallbearers carrying a casket in which a razor was placed. This was the official beginning of the Centennial beard-growing contest, in which the 60 men were participating. The casket carrying the razor was placed in a window display at Rymack’s Printing Shop on Main Street, the official Centennial headquarters. The pallbearers were: Art McGee, Merlen McKeever, Dave Walton, Jackie Smith, Ken Brokaw, and Lauren Bertke. All from Marie Schneider’s “Manchester’s First Hundred Years”, published in 1967.

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