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Ashwaubenon prepares for sesquicentennial celebration

By Kevin Boneske
Staff Writer

ASHWAUBENON – Plans are in the works for Ashwaubenon to celebrate its sesquicentennial (150 years) anniversary next year.

Preliminary 2022 sesquicentennial plans were discussed Aug. 24 during the village board meeting.

Parks, Recreation and Forestry Director Rex Mehlberg said his department has been the “de facto lead” on plans for the celebration.

Mehlberg said he has been working with different community groups to determine what they would like to happen for the sesquicentennial.

“We’ve got a very tentative schedule of events for the week-long celebration in 2022, which would be Aug. 8 through Aug. 14,” he said. “We wanted to do a weeklong celebration, and then we wanted to expand the Ashwaubenon Blast, which is kind of our big community celebration. It didn’t take place the last two years, obviously, but we certainly plan on doing (it) in 2022 as part of the overall sesquicentennial.”

Mehlberg said some of the events planned include expanding the Blast event, potential fireworks, a dinner and a series of concerts.

“There’s a lot of things happening,” he said. “The schedule is very fluid.”

Mehlberg said the ideas for sesquicentennial events will cost money.

“(I) don’t know what the village is willing to come forth with on this or how much the village wants to support its own 150th (anniversary),” he said. “Certainly, there will be quite a bit of fundraising going on by some staff, as well as by the Ashwaubenon Alumni Association members to try and increase the offerings at the Blast itself…”

Trustee Allison Williams said she would like to see the village commit extra funds to the celebration as part of the 2022 budget.

“We don’t just expect other people to throw the village our own little party, that we invest in ourselves, too, and in our citizens,” she said.

Village President Mary Kardoskee said she agrees the village should put some funds toward the sesquicentennial.

Mehlberg said community organizations interested in running an event have been told it would be added to the schedule.

“I think that takes a little bit of the burden off of the staff to actually try and create more and more events on top of what we already do during the course of the summer,” he said.

When Ashwaubenon held its centennial celebration in 1972, Mehlberg said a lot of events were held by community organizations.

“It was their event,” he said. “They chose what they wanted to do.”

Mehlberg said the celebration schedule needs to be solidified, even though the sesquicentennial is a year away.

“You literally need to plan something like this a year in advance,” he said. “So, once you get your schedule down, then you could start working out all the details and all the many aspects of the special event or of the celebration.”

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