Walbridge is getting ready for a big birthday party. On April 7, the village celebrates the 100th anniversary of its incorporation.
On that date — April 7, 1913 — the first council meeting was held. The centennial celebration will begin, appropriately enough, with a special council meeting at 2 p.m. at which Mayor Ed Kolanko will read a proclamation recognizing the anniversary.
Mr. Kolanko, who took office in January, said, “The first word that comes to mind is ‘honor.’ I’m pretty honored to be part of this 100-year celebration. Good people have been part of the village for many years and will be in the future. I’m fortunate to be able to help out during this time.”
After the council meeting, the observance will move to the Veterans of Foreign Wars hall next door, where more proclamations will be read by visiting dignitaries such as Lake Township trustees and Wood County commissioners, and a cake and punch reception will be held.
For the Walbridge community, “it is a big deal,” said Sue Hart-Douglas, a village council member and centennial celebration organizer. “We first met to start working on this in September of 2010.”
Since then, the organizers have been meeting on the second Tuesday of each month in the village hall at 6:30 p.m. The March meeting is later today, and the public is welcome.
Volunteers also have been busy scanning old photos from Walbridge that will be on display during the celebration, and putting together a centennial cookbook and a yearbook that includes every Lake High School graduating class since 1913. The yearbook will sell for $10, and the cookbook for $15.
There will be other centennial celebrations throughout the year.
On June 8, Grace Bible Baptist Church, the oldest church in Walbridge, will have a marriage blessing for Walbridge couples who have been married for at least 50 years. This will be followed by a dinner.
The congregation was organized in 1887 as Union Church, and the church itself was built three years later. In 1957, the church was raised from its foundation and a basement was dug.
Then on July 4, 5, and 6, the village will have a fair with amusement rides in Loop Park. It is looking for a sponsor for the planned fireworks, Ms. Hart-Douglas said.
On Sept. 22, the VFW hall will be the venue for a centennial quilt show, a time for which has not yet been set. Quilts done by local groups will be on display.
Ms. Hart-Douglas said she is trying to organize a vintage baseball game and ice cream social as part of the festivities. “I think that would be fun.”