El Dorado celebrates 150th
The historic day began with the 20th anniversary of 9/11 remembrance ceremony held at the Butler County Courthouse. First responders from around the area were invited to participate in the memorial recognizing the 9/11 victims.
El Dorado Fire Department Captain Mike Rose, shared his personal reflections on the impact the day had on him. A bell was tolled at 8:46 a.m. to mark the moment the first tower was hit and the flag was lowered to half staff by the American Legion Post #81 Commander Steve Seymour.
Jean Plummer, the 150FEST Parade Grand Marshal, was escorted by Vince Haines. The parade consisted of over 80 entries from many organizations. They ranged from marching bands and decorated floats to vehicles boasting signs of political candidates. The long parade route through town was met by spectators all along the way.
“I feel amazed by the community support and willingness to participate in such a historic event,” said event volunteer Kristina Traina.
“I didn't realize how much the parade meant to people,” said Traina. “I had an older gentleman tell me that once their float rounded 1st toMain, he got teary eyes seeing all of the people lined up to watch the parade.”
An artisan market filled with vendors and food trucks lined North Main Street and brought the community out in such large numbers to celebrate the 150th birthday of El Dorado, that the threat of Covid seemed a distant memory.
Games for kids and adults alike provided an atmosphere of family fun while a cornhole tournament, BBQ cook off and car show added an element of competitive fun to the festivities. Car show volunteer Linda Baines was a young child at the 100th birthday celebration in 1971 and remembers it fondly.
“I don’t think I’ll make the 200th anniversary, but what I would like to see is that the downtown continues to be vibrant and that the buildings that have started to be renovated will continue to be so that we still have the beauty of the old town in our downtown,” said Baines. “In another 50 years, my children and grandchildren will be here and they’ll be able to say ‘Yep, I was there for the 150th!’”
The celebration concluded with music by local musicians Vegan Shark, Chase and Co. and Big Fat Fun, a street dance, entertainment by fire dancers and headliner Caylee Hammack.
“It was awesome,” said Mayor Bill Young. “There were so many people downtown. It fills your heart to see everyone down here.”