Wilton Founders Day to celebrate centennial events
WILTON, Iowa — In 1980, Wilton celebrated its first-ever Founders’ Day, commemorating Wilton’s incorporation 100 years earlier in 1880. Talking to his uncle, a retired railroader and member of the Wilton American Legion and the Wilton Historical Society George Leggin, Becky Brisker of the Wilton Chamber of Commerce found that in 1922 Wilton hosted his historic homecoming celebration and launched his American Legion post. Wanting to celebrate these important parts of Wilton’s history, this year’s Founders Day will be themed 100 Years Homecoming. Founders Day will be held August 19-20 this year in downtown Wilton.
Looking back on Wilton’s history, Brisker learned that in 1888, just eight years after Wilton was founded, a new rail line diverted much of the traffic that passed through Wilton. Consequently, some people moved elsewhere to follow the economic opportunities offered by the railroad. In 1922, the town of Wilton invited all who had moved to visit, hosting a series of special events and building a larger-than-life statue of Mother Wilton with an archway above it that read “Welcome Home my children”. Because this event coincided with the centennial of the American Legion and because of recent interest in reconnecting with its roots, Brisker felt the 100 Years Homecoming theme set the perfect tone for this event. year. She observed, “The last few years have really brought communities together, and I think a renewed sense of wanting to stay a little more local, a revitalization of that hometown pride.”
Wilton residents or returnees who have attended many Founders Days in the past will see some of their favorite activities take place, including the Children’s Carnival; the alumni play, “The Pony Expresso,” at the Massonic Temple on Friday and Saturday evenings at 7 p.m.; and the Eager Beaver Run on Saturday morning, among many others. To keep Founders Day fresh for all generations, including children, Founders Day will also feature several exciting new attractions. Toddlers can take part in a big wheel race on Friday night and free games on Saturday after the Eager Beaver Kids One Mile Race. Throughout the weekend, Founders Day will honor those who make Wilton a better place with a community ceremony on Friday as well as the American Legion’s Centennial Celebration at their Legion Post, 584, on Saturday. Those who enjoy the annual Founders Day live music will welcome the addition of a second band on Saturday night, allowing anyone who wants to sit and listen or get up and dance to enjoy the music from 4 p.m. midnight.
True to its theme, this year’s Founders Day will give Wilton residents, as well as those who have moved on, the perfect opportunity to come home and enjoy all the good times and camaraderie the town has to offer. to offer. “Founders Day is for the community – we want everyone to find something enjoyable over the weekend and bring them closer to the community at large,” Brisker said. “I look forward to the opportunity that Founders Day provides for people to get out into their own backyards and enjoy a weekend of family fun,” she added. “A lot of alumni and former residents return to Wilton specifically on Founders Day weekend because they know many more will too.”