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Williams Bay begins planning its centennial celebration

Williams Bay begins planning its centennial celebration


WILLIAMS BAY — There won’t be a parade and don’t look for fireworks, but the village’s centennial planning committee is looking at ways to make Williams Bay’s 100th birthday a special event.

Planning for the village’s centennial celebration Oct. 19 is starting to rev up, now that the holidays are over, said Greg Trush, village trustee and a member of the Williams Bay Centennial Committee. Trush said the committee recently sent out a donors letter asking residents to help fund the celebration.

Even before sending out the letter, the committee has already raised about $3,400, Trush said. And the tentative goal is $10,000.

No parade? No fireworks?

“We looked at a parade, but we thought that being only a few blocks long, it wouldn’t be worth it,” Trush said. He said they are also not planning on fireworks.

Williams Bay already has an annual fireworks display right after the August Corn and Brat Fest.

The planning committee will try to coordinate with other events that happen in October, he said. For example, Calvary Church has a Harvest Fest on the third weekend in October. The Harvest Fest will be a part of the centennial, he said.

The Enhancement Committee may do a special planting, and the Lions Club is considering a breakfast at the pavilion in Edgewater Park.

“We want to involve all the groups in the community,” Trush said.

Pat Grove, president of the Williams Bay Historical Society, which is also involved in planning the centennial, said there has been discussion about printing a centennial calendar that would be sold, along with banners and a centennial flag.

The Williams Bay Historical Society is planning a history exhibit at the Barrett Memorial Library, once current library expansion work is completed.

“We want the whole community involved,” she said. “We’re trying to get this ball rolling.”

Williams Bay officially became a village on Oct. 23, 1919.

Before settlers began moving into the Geneva Lake area, the village was once the site of a Potawatomi Indian tribe settlement.

The village is home to the Yerkes Observatory, George Williams College and the Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy.

Oct. 19 was selected as the celebration day because it won’t interfere with Boo in the Bay a week later, and it is the last weekend before the actual date of incorporation, Trush said.

Most of the centennial activities will be from noon to 5 p.m.

Jim D’Alessandro, village trustee and president of the Williams Bay Business Association, said the association is also working closely with the planning committee.

“I think our work is going to be to help them with publicity and to promote the event,” he said.

He said the association and the committee will work out the details of what the association will be doing for the centennial.

“I think it’s still a little bit of a work in progress,” D’Alessandro said.

Any money left over after the celebration will probably go to either the library or the recreation department, both of which are cooperating with the centennial planning committee, he said.

Trush said the committee would also like to get some speakers lined up for the celebration.

He said the celebration focus will be on what the village has accomplished over the past century.

The committee is also considering creation of commemorative plaque.

Membership in the centennial planning committee is open to anybody from Williams Bay, Trush said.

Trush is the committee chairman, and LaVerne Duncan, wife of Village President Bill Duncan, and Charles Clemen, are finance co-chairpersons.

The planning committee has set up sponsorship levels for the centennial.

Platinum sponsorship is $1,000 or more, gold sponsorship is $500 to $999, silver is $250 to 499, and general sponsorship is $5 to $250.

Checks should be made out to the Village of Williams Bay with centennial celebration on the memo line. Contributions should be mailed to P.O. Box 580, Williams Bay 53191.

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Chris Schultz has been a reporter for more than 40 years. He has been with the Lake Geneva Regional since 2010. He covers the Lake Geneva City Council and the Lake Geneva area schools.

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