published: Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Centennial schedule takes shape
Special to the News-Sun
SEBRING -- Plans for a week-long celebration of the City of Sebring's 100th birthday are coming together. The Sebring Centennial Celebration committee has been meeting monthly for over a year to organize the festivities which begin Oct. 13 and conclude on Oct. 20.
"The kick-off event held back on Jan. 6 exceeded expectations," said Allen Alvater III, local historian and member of the committee. "We expect our week-long celebration Oct. 13-20 to be equally enjoyable and to have something for everyone. We particularly appreciate the generosity of Alan Jay Automotive for being our Double Platinum sponsor for the entire week."
The Sebring Centennial Celebration committee released the following details for the week-long festivities. An old-fashioned bed race will take place on West Center in downtown Sebring on Oct. 13 at 11 a.m., with DJ and emcee duties provided Sebring celebrity Rooter Rush. Community organizations, Sebring High classes, and local businesses are expected to enter the bed race.
City Clerk and Centennial committee member Kathy Haley recalls being the passenger in a bed engineered by the Sebring Fire Department in such a bed race held in the late 1980s. "I'll have to think long and hard before I do that again," said Haley, "but I will definitely be a cheering spectator."
On Monday, Oct. 15, the downtown streets will be closed to traffic for a huge celebration. A parade will kick off at 5:30 p.m. on a route from the Sebring Parkway, down North Ridgewood, around the Circle, and ending at the end of South Commerce. Afterward, local favorite California Toe Jam Band will provide music on the Circle, and South Ridgewood will be the scene of a giant picnic area with a variety of food vendors.
"We expect a huge crowd and a large number of entrants for this event," said parade organizer Alice Fairel. "Participants should submit their entry forms as soon as possible while space is available. The theme of the parade is 'Living the Legacy.' I anticipate some very creative floats and walking groups to illustrate that theme in the parade."
On Wednesday evening, Oct. 17, there will be a community-wide prayer meeting at Rotary Park behind the Jack Stroup Civic Center, starting at 6 p.m. Altvater is heading up this event with the help of Commissioner Greg Harris.
"Two hundred two-piece chicken dinners will be available from Kentucky Fried Chicken at a cost of $5 each, or those attending are welcome to bring their own picnic baskets," Altvater said. "There will be music, prayers and, I imagine, some reminiscing about the early churches in Sebring, which were an important part of George Sebring's plan to grow this community."
The fun doesn't stop there. On Thursday, Oct. 18, Sebring, the Avon Park and Lake Placid Chambers of Commerce will host a Tri-Chamber Mixer on the Circle from 5-7 p.m. At 6 p.m. a time capsule will be buried in front of the original Board of Trade building, the current downtown location of the Greater Sebring Chamber of Commerce.
At 7 p.m., Mayor George Hensley, with the help of Back Porch Revival Band, is going to teach the crowd to square dance on North Ridgewood Drive. "I've been calling square dances since my youth in North Carolina," said the mayor. "This is going to be a fun event and I encourage everyone to come out and enjoy the festivities. Whether you want to dance or just watch, I am sure this will be a fun night in downtown, much like evenings gone by when everyone came to town."
Several downtown restaurants will stay open for this event, and food vendors will also be set up around the Circle. Those attending are encouraged to dress in circa-1912 attire, and the best costumed man and woman will be chosen by the applause of the crowd.
If you own a boat or pontoon, Friday night, Oct. 19, will be the night for you. A boat parade will assemble at Lake Jackson's Veterans Beach at 7 p.m. You are encouraged to decorate your watercraft with lights galore for a parade around Lake Jackson. For those not on the water, a party will be held at City Pier.
A birthday party would not be complete without a birthday cake, and Lakeshore Mall has plans for the biggest birthday cake Sebring has ever seen on Saturday, Oct. 20. A day of music, celebration, raffles, historic displays, and cake is planned at Lakeshore Mall to finish off the week-long celebration.
Also on Oct. 20, the Sebring Historical Society will hold its quarterly luncheon at noon at Bert Harris Agri-Civic Center, and a special dedication program will take place at 3 p.m. at the Sebring Airport honoring the late Major Thomas Maguire. And if that isn't enough, Highlands Hammock State Park will host local band Groovus that evening under the stars.
Local Realtor Jen Brown has been instrumental in the Centennial planning. "I am a relative newcomer to this area, but when I heard about the Centennial I decided to get involved," she said. "These events don't happen by themselves, but Sebring is a wonderful community of willing volunteers. The ideas and hard work of many such volunteers, not to mention the important sponsorship dollars, will make the week one to remember. City officials and employees have been awesome to work with. It's going to be fun."
Additional activities sponsored by private organizations will be held throughout the week. Centennial Celebration sponsorship information and entry forms for the bed race, parade and boat parade are available at City Hall or by contacting Haley at 471-5100.
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