Square streets set for 175th
With about 3 1/2 weeks left until the kickoff of Washington’s 175th anniversary celebration in the downtown area, the Washington City Council approved several plans and road closures for the eight-day event.
For about 90 minutes, many organizers of the event gave presentations and described the activities that would be held during the week. The group also explained to the council how the event would impact the square in Washington, with lane closures called for during many of the days. The group passed out a packet with a map and schedule for each day.
“The majority of the days should be fairly set,” said organizer Diane Gallagher. ‘There may be a few days yet where we have to change some things.”
Porta potties for the event will be set up at the inside corner of Main Street and Iowa Avenue.
June 1, Day 1
On the move
Many of the early events on the first day will be held at the Washington Municipal Airport, although a bike ride from the square to the airport is scheduled for 7 a.m. A 5K run will be held at 9 a.m. beginning at Bodywrx Fitness. A cruise-in car show will be held from noon to 4 p.m., which will take up the interior lanes of Marion and Iowa avenues and both lanes of Main Street in a manner similar to regular car shows on the square. There will also be entertainment on the Central Park bandshell. Washington Tree Committee has also scheduled a tree tour.
June 2, Day 2
No street blocking is needed on History Day, Gallagher said. Many events will be held in Central Park and in the downtown area, as well as tours of many historic locations.
June 3, Day 3
Business and Industry day.
Again on Tuesday, no blocking of the street on the square will be needed. Several businesses in town will be open for touring. An Alive After 5 will be held at Farm and Home Security Mutual Insurance Association. After 5 p.m. a Taste of Washington event will be held with restaurants having specials for the evening.
June 4, Day 4
Arts and Crafts Day
On Wednesday, a sidewalk chalk contest will be held on the south side of the square, and the westbound inside lanes will be closed until about 1 p.m. Gallagher said that blocking off the area would be safer because there would be kids in the lane coloring on the street. She also said that picnic tables would have to be brought in that day. From 4 to 7 p.m. there will also be a Kids Hands-On Art Fest in the Perdock lot about one block west of the square. Parking will be blocked off adjacent to the lot on Washington Street.
“The city will be doing a lot of that,” Mayor Sandra Johnson said when asked about the installation of barricades.
Council member Bob Shepherd said the city would also offer some extra safety factors, such as taping off the parking in the lane.
Also on that day, organizer Millie Youngquist said, the town has the opportunity to have the Johnsonville Brat largest brat grill come to the city. It is a 90-foot by 20-foot grill and the discussion is to have the grill come from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The grill will be set up on Washington Street. Shepherd said that the street is already blocked off and it is a side of the square that doesn’t have a restaurant.
June 5, Day 5
Much discussion was given to the events of Ag Day, because the original proposal was to close off about three-fourths of the parking around the square. It also calls for an antique tractor parade that may be over 200 tractors long.
Organizer Jerome Vittetoe said that the intent was to “overwhelm” the square.
“I have a lot of stuff coming,” he said. “A lot is going to be happening that day.”
Part of the event calls for antique tractors, as well as modern farm equipment, to line the square. Vittetoe asked for everything from the center in for the whole day, beginning at 9 a.m. he believed the tractors would begin leaving about 7:30 p.m. Council members raised concerns about there being only one lane of parking around the square that day. The council compromised and gave him three quarters of the streets on two sides and half on the other two.
There was also discussion of the tractor parade route. Vittetoe said that the “mile of tractors” would stage at the Washington County Fairgrounds, split into two groups and parade past the UP Home and Halcyon House, and meet on the square.
Discussion was given on how the farmers market would be held that day. Shepherd, also the market master, said that he plans to ask the United Presbyterian Church if the market could be held in their lot.
Day 6, June 6 — Family Health and Fitness Day
The square will not be blocked off during Friday’s events. All activities will be held at Sunset Park, Washington High School baseball field, and the Washington County Fairgrounds.
Day 7, June 7 — Ridiculous Day
In addition to the traditional events of Ridiculous Day, organizer Michelle Redlinger said that afternoon and evening events around the square would be very similar to the events of Celebrate Washington. The areas around the square will be blocked off for food vendors, bounce houses, a stage and other events.
Day 8, June 8 — Living the Dream
The square will not be blocked on Sunday for the church services, bands, and closing ceremony in the bandshell.
The Washington Chamber of Commerce reports that the full schedule of events will be posted on its Web site within the next week.