Faron Wahl, Manager.
We might be cruising along at the halfway mark of the summer season on our calendar, but once again this week we instead celebrate much in the way of beginnings.
Railroad Days is our feature event July 6 and 7, front-lining all things to do with railroads and how they worked years ago. But what’s so fitting, as I often say, about a live railroad surrounding a historic village, is that most burgs springing up in this region 100 – plus years ago found their initial breath because the railroad came first. Certainly, the towns that thrived most often did so because of the people and commerce brought their way by a pair of steel rails, the absence thereof often spelling demise later for other villages of seemingly equal status.
Since we want to demonstrate how life was for the early rural settlers here, what better way than to feature a bank, hotel, barbershop, and general store from which you can see and experience the coming and going of trains. And during this weekend, rides on various equipment will repeat throughout the day, in addition to a presentation on railroading in the plains plus back-to-back carousel rides (via steam on Saturday).
All of it represents the beginnings of the settling of this prairie.
Of course, these upcoming days double as the traditional Independence Day camping weekend, and we’ve got lots of excited families coming our way. While it’s easy to lose the meaning amidst the method, we do well to keep in mind that we’re celebrating the beginning of our nation, specifically the bold, life-betting declaration by a roomful of signers that those original thirteen states would be independent, regardless the personal peril it meant for every one of them should they fail.
In other beginnings, this past week marked the unofficial but thermometer-verified beginning of summer, with temps in the 90’s tied to dewpoints that would make ducks pant. What’s crazier is the wild difference in how the air has felt to us during a short span of 2019.
Just north of here during the last couple of days of January, the wind chill factor was well into the minus 50’s, and the same spot recorded a heat index five months-to-the-day later of 106 degrees. In terms of how it feels to the human body, that’s a spread of more than 150 degrees in just 21 weeks.
And by the way, these aren’t figures out a blog written in a Manhattan loft by some do-gooder who’s never heard of schools making up snow days and believes cows get tucked into bed on chilly winter nights. This is local data straight from the National Weather Service. Guess you can take that to the bank, and most of those who read this already know it to be fact. Quite a way to begin this year’s traditional winter and summer temps.
Many don’t realize we just passed the anniversary of another cool beginning straight out of the manual of roadside Americana: A and W Root Beer. It was exactly 100 years ago (plus a couple of weeks as of this printing) that Roy Allen first sold his now-famous recipe drink from a stand in California, eventually partnering with Frank Wright a few years later to form the A and W we’re all familiar with. We might believe McDonalds piloted the fast food craze in this country, but old Mr. Allen had them beat by nearly 30 years.
Finally, if you haven’t been to our Opera House concerts, how about beginning a tradition of coming out to our comfortable, air-conditioned historic hall to hear music from performers we’re sure you’ll enjoy. The Redhead Express will be on stage shortly, kicking off a fantastic evening of entertainment Saturday night, July 6 at 7:00 pm (doors open at 6). We still have seats available, so stop out and purchase them at our gift shop or get them by phone at 256-3644. This group will put a wonderful seal on an already fun weekend. We hope to see you there!