ITHACA – It was a grand celebration of 150 years.
Ithaca Village Board Member and Sesquicentennial Committee Member Lynn Hanson said he thought the town’s celebration this past weekend went very well.
“I’m really glad for the support we had,” he said.
Hanson said it is always hard planning for a celebration like this and not knowing how many people will come.
But, he said attendance for activities was good and that included the line-up for food in the village hall.
All proceeds from the meals served during the two day celebration will be used for improvements to the park.
Many businesses and organizations also donated prizes for such activities as Saturday afternoon’s bingo. Hanson said any prizes left over will be used for more events in the future.
His goal is to start a monthly community gathering as a way to create fellowship and increase community feedback.
But while that’s in the future for Ithaca, this past weekend it was all about celebrating the 150 years since the town was established.
One of the special activities was a re-enactment of a Civil War camp.
Members of the First Nebraska Volunteer Infantry Civil War Reenactment Unit set up camp next to the old depot.
First Nebraska Volunteer Infantry Reenactor Jack Eager of Ashland said the group’s goal is to demonstrate what it was for the First Nebraska Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War.
The group’s activity in Ithaca was a campsite and taking part in Saturday’s parade. Complete with replica uniforms, muskets, tents and other necessary camp accessories, the reenactors gave demonstrations, marched and relived history.
“The main part is that we get to do this stuff they did,” Eager said.
For some reenactments, he said that the unit even stages battles.
It’s historical and its fun,” he added.
First Nebraska Volunteer Infantry Reenactor Larry Angel said many people do not know that soldiers from what is known as Nebraska today were an important part of the Civil War.
“We did send a regiment, even though we were not a state at the time,” he said.
The Nebraska-Kansas Territory and its volunteer regiments, he added, proved to be a tipping point for the war.
The reenactors were also joined by a few members of the Sons of the Union Veterans.
Sons of the Union Veterans Eric Bachenberg of Lincoln said the group is a descendent of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). The group has associate members, but regular membership is for men who can prove they had a relative who fought in the Civil War.
The Sons of the Union Veterans’ mission is to carry on the pride of the GAR and has many ceremonial functions, he added.
Two ceremonies over the weekend recognized those who served in other wars too.
The siblings of Douglas “Jim” Winchell, who was killed in action in Vietnam, presented a bench to the village. It was dedicated in his memory on Saturday and will be placed in the park next to the village hall.
On Sunday, an eagle was dedicated at Indian Mound Cemetery. Iva Carlson, one of his sisters, said the eagle was donated in honor of all veterans and will be placed near the entrance to welcome all who enter the cemetery.
Carlson said it was an honor for the family to give back.
Another sister, Lorene Winchell, thanked the community for its support when their brother died and since then as well.
“They say it takes a village,” she said. “This village has always stepped up to be with us.”