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July 25, 2009

Sesquicentennial celebration underway in Burr Oak

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Written by: Bruce Snook
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The Village of Burr Oak is “off and running” with its three-day “Heritage Celebration” to mark 150 years as a community.

This Burr Oak Grange banner is one of many you'll find in downtown Burr Oak as the community celebrates its sesquicential this weekend.

This Burr Oak Grange banner is one of many you'll find in downtown Burr Oak as the community celebrates its sesquicential this weekend.

The festivities got underway Friday (July 24th) with a variety of activities including 3-on-3 Basketball, Port-a-Pit Chicken Dinner, Soap Box Derby, and more.

Saturday’s “Fun-Day” schedule will begin with a Pancake Breakfast from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. and be highlighted by a Parade at 9:30 a.m.  According to Police Chief Cynthia “Cyndi” Miller, there are over 40 entries for the parade.

A Duck Derby is scheduled after the parade and the main block downtown will be closed off for the Street Carnival from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Other events on Saturday’s calendar include a Farmer’s Market, Fire Department Waterball, Ice Cream Social, Texas Hold-em Tournament, Junior High Dance and Fireworks at dusk.

Sunday – “Family Day” – will kick off with a pancake breakfast from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m.  The day’s lineup also includes a Community Church Service in Church Park at 10:30 a.m., Heritage Days Hog Roast at Church Park at noon, Adult 3-on-3 Basketball at 1 p.m., Family Games at 1:30 p.m., and a Period Costume Contest in Church Park at 3 p.m.  The contest is open to all ages and registration is not necessary.

Burr Oak Police Chief Cynthia "Cyndi" Miller was busy with tasks, such as temporarily closing off a street, as the Village of Burr Oak began celebrating its 150th anniversary on Friday.

Burr Oak Police Chief Cynthia "Cyndi" Miller was busy with tasks, such as temporarily closing off a street, as the Village of Burr Oak began celebrating its 150th anniversary on Friday.

Miller, who has served as the community’s chief of police since last November, is enthusiastic about the celebration.  During a late afternoon interview on Friday, she said, “I’ve only been here for a short while.  I’ve seen our community come together for various causes for residents of the community, but I’m seeing a life in the community that was not here event two months ago.  There’s so much activity and businesses are opening – and it’s going to be so much fun.”

For more information about the celebration, contact Kurt Kuhlman at (269) 489-5539 or the Burr Oak Village Office at (269) 489-5258.

For additional insights about the community and the celebration, click on the links below to hear interviews with Police Chief Cyndi Miller and Harold Harris, a longtime Burr Oak resident who helped build one of the cars for the Soap Box Derby.  Also, check out the photographs and captions you’ll find below that help tell the story of the celebration in “A Small Town With A Big Heart.”

INTERVIEWS:

•    During a conversation with Bruce Snook of the River Country Journal late Friday afternoon, Burr Oak Police Chief Cynthia “Cyndi” Miller talked about preparations for the sesquicentennial celebration and the positive impact the festival has had on the small community in southeastern St. Joseph County.  To hear the interview (3:45), click here.
•    With about an hour and a half to go before the Soap Box Derby, Bruce Snook talked with Harold Harris, a longtime Burr Oak resident, about his involvement in a project to build one of the entries in the race.  To listen to the interview (2:10), click here.

PHOTOGRAPHS:

Longtime Burr Oak resident Harold Harris worked with his grandson, granddaughter and "another young man" to build a race car for the Soap Box Derby that was part of Friday's lineup for the Heritage Celebration.

Longtime Burr Oak resident Harold Harris worked with his grandson, granddaughter and "another young man" to build a race car for the Soap Box Derby that was part of Friday's lineup for the Heritage Celebration.

Visitors to the Heritage Celebration will find this display about the Burr Oak Pharmacy as they stroll the downtown.

Visitors to the Heritage Celebration will find this display about the Burr Oak Pharmacy as they stroll the downtown.

Within the display about the Burr Oak Pharmacy is this synopsis of the store's long history.

Within the display about the Burr Oak Pharmacy is this synopsis of the store's long history.

Village Clerk Barb Wittlock arranges Heritage Celebration T-shirts that are available for purchase as a memento of the community's sesquicentennial observance.

Village Clerk Barb Wittlock arranges Heritage Celebration T-shirts that are available for purchase as a memento of the community's sesquicentennial observance.






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