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Town partakes in 250 event

By Staff | Nov 4, 2011

Sarah Wabnitz and Kate Cauvel of Troop #40145 prepare flower beds to plant 250 daffodil bulbs at Morgan's Grove Park Thursday, Sept. 22. They are just two of the many participating in the town's 250th anniversary celebration. (Chronicle photo by Tricia Fulks)

It’s just three weeks until the town and the Shepherdstown 250 committee will welcome the yearlong celebration of the town’s semiquincentennial, and the sheer thought of it makes Committee Chair Meredith Wait want to jump into action.

Wait, who was tapped by Mayor Jim Auxer to lead the charge in planning the anniversary bash, has headed a group of volunteers for about a year now and said she cannot believe the celebration’s launch is so quickly approaching.

But Wait can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the community is coming out to show its support for the celebration of the signing of the town’s charter – 250 years later.

“Organizations are calling up and saying, ‘How can we fit in? Do you have any ideas?’,” Wait said. “I truly am beginning to feel that the stirrings of the community is being engaged – which is the main goal.”

The Nov. 19 edition of the Rumsey Radio Hour will be a “warm-up” to the 250th anniversary celebration, according to Wait, in which she said skits will “poke fun” at the celebration.

Jeanne Muir, coordinator of the radio hour, said there are two skits, and perhaps a third, that will focus on the town’s incorporation 250 years ago.

She said there will be one song, written by Clissy Funkhouser, to the tune of “Modern Major General” in which children will hold up cards spelling out “semiquincentennial.”

“Because no one knows how to spell it,” Muir joked.

She also said the beginning of Rumsey Radio Hour will feature a skit entitled “The History of Shepherdstown.”

Muir said this year, though the event is held at a larger venue, organizers still hope to sell out like they have done in years past.

“We’d really like to get a big audience for the Frank Center,” she said.

Besides Rumsey Radio Hour dedicating many of this year’s skits to the celebration, Wait said other organizations, businesses and individuals across the community have reached out to celebrate the town’s history and help in their own ways.

She said the Kiwanis Club of Shepherdstown will take care of this year’s Christmas trees, and students at Shepherdstown Elementary School and seniors at the Canterbury Center will make decorations for trees in town and around Shepherd University’s campus.

“So we have the elderly working with the elementary,” Wait said. “We’re overlapping parts of the community in ways we never anticipated.”

Wait said on Dec. 24 at 2 p.m., Keith Alexander, a professor at Shepherd, organized a group of tuba players to play tunes on the steps of McMurran Hall. The town’s historic landmarks commission has been in talks for months about designing a poster with historic building features on it, a project spearheaded by Commissioner Jay Hurley.

And recently Girl Scout Troop #40145 planted 250 daffodil bulbs in the boxes by the pavilion at Morgan’s Grove Park, so then in the spring, the flowers will bloom. According to Jennifer Wabnitz, whose daughter Sarah is in the troop, Home Depot donated all 250 bulbs.

But these are just a few of the organizations participating. Wait said it has truly become a community effort – between the yearlong celebration and the parade happening during Christmas in Shepherdstown on Dec. 3.

Wait said for individuals looking to participate during the anniversary festivities or in the parade, visit www.shepherdstown250.com.

“I think for the year as the momentum is going, people” are going to start to imagine what they can do, Wait said. “Where it’s going to manifest for the year is anybody’s guess.”