Blackfoot Valley Dispatch - The Blackfoot Valley's News Source Since 1980

By Hope Quay
Blackfoot Valley Dispatch 

Lincoln Community Hall marks a century with events through town

 

Bob Frank-Plumlee

Kids chomp into slices of watermelon during the watermelon eating contest at the Hall.

The Lincoln Community Hall celebrated the historic building's hundredth year as the heart of Lincoln last weekend with entertainment, exhibits and activities that spanned two days and stretched from the Hall to Sculpture in the Wild.

The celebration featured an eclectic series of events and activities spread throughout several locations. Classic cars, family friendly and educational booths, exhibits of historic and civic significance, a collection of oral histories from longtime locals, music, community theater, throwbacks to traditional small-town social activities such as pie baking and watermelon eating contests, a petting zoo, a fly tying class, a book giveaway and a concert with Sculpture in the Wild Composer in Residence Adele O'Dwyer were some of the attractions planned by the Hall Board to celebrate the beloved building's centenary.

Organizer Tiana Valler said inspiration for the weekend's events came from a variety of sources.

"We had a meeting with...people that usually aren't on boards, and a few that are, and said 'come and meet with us and give us ideas,'" she said. "The Hall board had already come up with fabulous ideas, and then these people came in and they had amazing ideas, so we just put together what we could."

Some, like the exhibit of historic Community Hall photos and articles compiled in cooperation with the Upper Blackfoot Valley Historical Society and the Blackfoot Valley Dispatch, and the Gold Panning booth at Hooper Park, were directly influenced by local history. Others, like the tuba concert, beard and moustache competition and watermelon eating contest, were just for old-timey fun.

When we talked about it, it was like "this is what we want, we want the whole community to kind of join in," Valler said.

Many hands made light work when it came to celebrating and commemorating 100 years at the heart of Lincoln.

We fanned out and found wonderful volunteers," said Valler. "We figured maybe we could bring some new blood into the volunteer pool. And, of course, we had those solid ones that are at everything... It's really come together really smoothly, and everybody has been very enthusiastic."

Although a few last-minute cancellations of planned booths were a disappointment, Valler said the remaining participants made up for the lack.

"It really was a whole group that, each person took their part and made it go. Everybody did their part throughout the community, and it's really fun," she told the BVD Saturday afternoon. "Instead of just being at the hall or at the park...we asked the school students to do all of the interviews with the old timers. The PTSA did all of the chalk art...they pulled all of it together, so it was this big event, but we were just overseeing things, so it wasn't overwhelming."

Valler said event planners deliberately refrained from serving food at the various attractions, in the hopes that those attending the celebration would enjoy a meal in a local establishment.

"It was an amazing thing for town because all of these people were coming in," she said.

Although on Saturday the Hall's guest book featured signatures from as far away as California and Maine, the slow and steady trickle of attendees from event to event gave some locals the impression that the celebration did not draw many Lincoln residents. However, Valler said, some of Lincoln's newer residents visited the Hall for the first time on Saturday.

"I met folks from Lincoln I had never met, loved that," said Libby Davis, who entered her southern pecan style pie in the pie baking contest. "I just wish it was an annual celebration." Davis said she enjoyed the musical aspect of the event, and the fact that it was family orientated.

Roger Dey

Adele O'Dwyer talks to the crowd at the Community Hall Sunday afternoon. O'Dwyer was joined by musician Steven Gores, Lincoln music teacher Melissa Gilbert and several Lincoln grade school students for a concert that featured classical, jazz and popular tunes from the early 20th century

"When people came to the Hall originally, they all came as families," said Valler, who said the Hall Board made local history a priority in their planning. "It's important for people to see the old pictures...and for kids to see gold panning and all of these things that make up our history."

Lincoln resident Rosaire Hoffman attended several of the celebration's featured events alongside her daughter and two grandchildren from Pennsylvania.

"We saw the tuba guys and they were wonderful...They played the Star-Spangled Banner and I got all misty," she said.

Valler said although the celebration was in homage to the Hall, planners tried to honor the essence of what the Hall means to Lincoln – in short, a symbol of community that spans far outside the 100-year-old log walls.

"We thought let's show, again, what community looks like," she said. "We do it in a lot of ways, but here's kind of a new way to do it – that was the goal."

 

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