Happy Birthday to Us
City's 150th anniversary celebration comes to a close

From Staff Reports

At the conclusion of Sulphur Springs' sesquicentennial celebration, residents, visitors and guests joined in to sing "Happy Birthday" around the giant birthday cake on the square.
Staff Photo by Ricky Russell

July 19, 2004 -- Hundreds of people bid the city of Sulphur Springs "Happy 150th Birthday" Saturday evening as the three-weekend Sesquicentennial Celebration wound down to its finale.

The day began on the downtown square with live music and a "County Fair on the Square," which included cow chip bingo, cake walk, dunkin' booth and other booths manned by youth and civic organizations, as well as courthouse and historic home tours and a reception for the 1954 Centennial Queen's Court.

Hopkins County Genealogical Society was also holding an all-night lock-in for anyone wishing to learn a little family history at the society's research library at 212 Main St.

A Singing Convention was held in the district courtroom of the County Courthouse from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. From 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Sterling Allen's baritone voice was accompanied by accomplished pianist Martha Scott in a program of traditional sacred music, spirituals, gospel songs and the premier of three new hymn arrangements by Andrew Ley at First United Methodist Church.

A beard contest that featured prizes worth $25 each in multiple categories began at 5:15 p.m. on the downtown square during the Sesquicentennial Celebration. The winners include Cortland Savage, most original beard; Mike Skelton, youngest beard; Ray Skelton, longest beard; John Bradberry, neatest beard; Pat Chase and Bill Glover, special awards; and Walter Grice, oldest beard. Talley "Rustler" Bell was presented with a special trophy for having the beard best repesenting the 2004 Sesquicentennial.

At 6 p.m. the town's official giant birthday party begam on Heritage Square with Mayor Chris Brown lighting the candles of an oversized birthday cake while the crowd sang "Happy Birthday," led by Master of Ceremonies Tim Kelty, before enjoying free birthday cake, compliments of Rhonda Young and her committee.

Pony Express riders also brought "Greetings" from outlying communities of the county, as well as delegations from Cooper, Winnsboro and other neighboring cities before a Musical Variety Show hosted by Enola Gay finished off the day's events.

The old-time variety show showcased local talent, reminiscent of the "radio days" and prompting "dancing in the streets" as community members took part in the finale performance of the town's 150th birthday celebration.

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