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Tradition

Old Settlers to honor 200th anniversary of Santa Fe Trail

Staff writer

Old Settlers Day will return to Marion after a one-year hiatus Sept. 25 with the theme “200 years on the Santa Fe Trail.”

The 110th annual event will feature, as always, a parade on Main St., games, and a meal in Central Park, as well as many class reunions.

Featured classes include those holding fifth, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, 30th, 35th, 40th, 45th, 50th, 55th, and 60th anniversaries.

“Sign-ups are slow right now,” parade organizer Casey Case said. “This year, we could have twice as many as usual because we’ve invited the ones who didn’t get to come last year.”

The class of 1960 is the oldest class that has signed up, Case said.

The youngest classes will be the classes of 2015 and 2016.

Games at Central Park will include sack races, a three-legged race, a dash, and what’s billed as a world-championship egg toss.

Case estimates the annual event typically draws 2,000 to 5,000 people.

“When the Kiwanis serves, we probably serve about 400 to 500,” he said.

Case will announce the parade. He has been announcer for more than 20 years.

“My dad did it for over 20 years, and I’ve done it for over 20,” he said. “There have only been three parade announcers in the last 60 years.”

Lunch will begin at noon, and games begin at 1 p.m.

Marion’s high school band will not be performing on the stage this year.

Class introductions will be held as usual.

The festival began in 1881 as a picnic for people who arrived in the 1860s. In the 1890s, Old Settlers Day became a countywide event. It was revived in 1912 and made an annual Marion event.

A Friday golf tournament and reception at Marion County Club will kick off the festivities.

Last modified Sept. 16, 2021

 

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