Anticipation building for Blades’ centennial celebration

BLADES – Anticipation is building as planning for the Town of Blades’ 100th birthday bash hits the homestretch.

In addition to a carte blanche invite to the entire town and surrounding community, Sussex County and State of Delaware dignitaries, the invitation list extends all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue – The White House.

“Yes, we’ve even invited the President … President Obama, and of course Vice President Biden, being he’s from Delaware,” said Blades Town Administrator Vikki Prettyman.

post BLADES 100th time capsule CMYK

While it’s highly unlikely the President or Vice President will actually attend, organizers are anticipating a huge turnout for centennial celebration festivities that include:

  • a state marker dedication/time capsule ceremony Tuesday, March 10 – the calendar date marking 100 years to that time on March 10, 1915 that Blades became an incorporated town through action by Delaware’s 95th General Assembly;
  • Blessing of Blades at historic Blades United Methodist Church, 3 p.m., Sunday, March 15;
  • a two-day, town-wide celebration Friday and Saturday, May 15-16, featuring a homecoming dinner May 15, and a May 16 parade through town and a huge festival at Blades Town Park.

While plans are to not bury the time capsule on town-owned property near Town Hall on W. 4th Street until warmer weather, perhaps sometime in April, residents, community members and others are invited and encouraged to contribute items on March 10 during the Delaware Historical Archives marker dedication just outside the Blades Marina at Nanticoke River Public Marine Park.

“People can actually take what they have and put it in there,” said Ms. Prettyman.

Gov. Jack Markell, among the many dignitaries invited, sent word he won’t be able to attend due to prior commitment but will be there in spirit, Ms. Prettyman said.

“He is sending a proclamation and an item for the time capsule,” she said.

Peninsula Oil, a longtime business entity based in Blades, has contributed memorabilia for the time capsule. Peninsula Oil, whose business ventures included the Uncle Willey’s convenience store chain, is celebrating its 85th anniversary this year.

The time capsule vault is expected to include historical artifacts connected to the late Margaret Lane Hastings, who in 1948 became not only Blades’ first female mayor but the first woman mayor elected in the State of Delaware.

“Her family is sending us a lot of documentation,” said Ms. Prettyman. “We are hopeful of having a few of her family members at the ceremony.”

Historical documentation of the town’s history is being compiled by current and longtime Blades councilmen Russell Joseph.

Historical exhibits will be on display at Hardin Hall, the town’s community center named in tribute to longtime mayor/councilman B.J. Hardin – former councilman and mayor who is one of notable figures in Blades’ history.

Festivities Saturday, May 16 run from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., highlighted by the 1 p.m. parade through town that will showcase traditional parade staples as well as the Town of Blades’ reigning royalty: Miss Blades Sophia Martinez; Junior Miss Blades Olivia Snell and Little Miss Blades Kayla Jones, who were crowned in a pageant last November.

The May 15 homecoming dinner at the town park will feature a variety of foods, with an open invitation to the community, former residents and mayors and councils past and present.

Organizers are working with local restaurants to keep cost at a minimum and the hope is that children under 12 are free, Ms. Prettyman said.

The festival at Blades Town Park, which is nestled between E. 6th, E.  7th, Arch and Cannon streets, will feature a variety of food, crafts and exhibit vendors, works by local artists and entertainment.

Kids’ entertainment includes face-painting and Sandy Sunshine, a clown known for her balloon creativity.

“We’re still working on our entertainment. We’ve got lots of ideas,” said Ms. Prettyman.

Input and involvement in planning is welcome, Ms. Prettyman said, and anyone or group that is interested should call Town Hall at 629-7366. Information and updates will also be posted on the town’s website (http://blades.delaware.gov/) and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/bladesde), Ms. Prettyman said.

As a kickoff to the celebration, the Town of Blades will host the Sussex County Association of Towns dinner, Wednesday, March 4 at the Nanticoke River Yacht Club at the Blades Marina. The dinner will be catered by B.J.’s Pizza & Pasta, a new restaurant business that opened in 2014.

“Everything is coming together,” said Ms. Prettyman. “We’re excited and looking forward to it.”

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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