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Jacksonville celebrates 150 years Saturday

Jacksonville will celebrate Oregon's 150th birthday with a celebration from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

The center of the historical town, including California Street and several side streets, will be closed to vehicles until 4 p.m., allowing people to walk from venue to venue. A schedule of activities and a map will be distributed during the day to all attendees.

The event kicks off with a 10 a.m. parade that will include a bi-plane flyover, traditional bagpipers and the Belles & Beaus — all dressed in period clothing — cowboy re-enactors, The Ladies Temperance Union, a mounted-posse color-guard unit, 20-plus gunfighters and dozens of square dancers.

Also in the parade will be horse-drawn covered wagons, a wagon pulled by a team of oxen, the Hanley Farm draft-horse team, vintage tractors, carriages, floats, the Jacksonville Trolley, mule-pack teams, dozens of old-time cars from the "A's" and Old Time Car Club, the "Tea Kettle" locomotive, vintage fire engines, the experimental "Varieze" airplane and a team of costumed Segway riders.

The parade will be followed by the annual California Street outhouse races, street shootouts, duels, bank robberies and other skits.

Restaurants and merchants will be open for business and have on-street and in-store food and merchandise for sale. More than 30 antiques and collectible dealers will set-up an "antique village."

For the kids, "Fred the Dragon" will be on The Jacksonville Museum lawn where the Southern Oregon Historical Society will host children's activities, including gold panning, sack races, seed-spitting contests, square-dancing demonstrations and pony rides. SOHS also will unveil a never-before-seen clothing and quilt display from the Beekman and Hanley families' collections.

From 1 to 2 p.m. in the U.S. Hotel Ballroom on California Street, the Southern Oregon Old Time Fiddlers will perform the "Virginia Reel" and give dance lessons.

There also will be a 50th reunion of the 42 student 4-H members who in 1959 made the centennial wagon-train trek from Jacksonville to Corvallis.

The Saturday events will be followed by a community potluck picnic from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday on the Jacksonville Museum grounds. Jacksonville residents are encouraged to bring items that will be placed inside a time capsule and preserved inside the Beekman Bank.

For more information, contact event coordinator Sharon Wesner-Becker at 326-6832 or by e-mail at swesnerwc@aol.com.