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Sesquicentennial Celebration Features Five Days Of Events
A professional fireworks display on Saturday night, June 26 is just one of the many events that will help the city mark its sesquicentennial, with five days of festivities planned for the 150th birthday celebration.

Triple digit heat might be back this weekend – but organizers of Oakdale’s Sesquicentennial and All American Bash said that won’t stop the community from celebrating this once-in-a-lifetime occurrence.

Oakdale turns 150 years old this year and the Oakdale Enrichment Society has pulled together a five-day festival to mark the occasion, adding in a July 4 flair as well.

From a limited craft beer release to a parade, stepping back in history to live music on stage, the June 23 through 27 celebration is shaping up to be memorable.

OES President Amy Velasco said while planning for the sesquicentennial festivities started more than a year ago, everything kind of went “on hold” as a result of the pandemic. With an eye toward the June 15 reopening of the state, the OES forged forward and is ready to host the party.

“We’re feeling really good,” Velasco said of the OES members who have worked to coordinate the various aspects of the multi-day sesquicentennial observance. “Honestly, we are so unbelievably excited.”

A special insert in this week’s issue of The Leader includes information about the scheduled festivities.

Among them is the Friday night Time Capsule Ceremony, outside the Gene Bianchi Community Center on South Second Avenue.

Start time for that event is 6 p.m. on June 25, with remarks to be offered by both Velasco, representing OES and Mayor Cher Bairos on behalf of the city. Bairos is also vice president of the OES; Lisa Ballard serves as secretary and Lupe Aguilera is the treasurer.

“We will have some dignitaries presenting items to the city,” Velasco said of those items that will be going into the time capsule. “We have an original doorknob from the clock tower when it was built in 1909; we have newspaper clippings, masks for COVID, a vial from the COVID vaccine, some past stuff, a lot of current stuff.”

The ceremony is expected to last about an hour and will also include the cutting of the specially designed 150th birthday cake, being done by Moss Rose Bakery.

“This was a long time coming, it was planned well over a year ago, before COVID hit,” Velasco pointed out. “But it’s bigger and better than we ever imagined.”

And regardless of the weather, Velasco is urging residents to make the most of the opportunity being presented over the next few days.

“Just come out and enjoy; celebrate our town. This is a big deal for us, 150 years only happens once,” Velasco said. “We are truly blessed, in my opinion, to have something like this after such a trying year. It will be a really great time.”