Seward community members celebrate the kickoff of the sesquicentennial on April 2 at Bottle Rocket Brewery in Seward, Nebraska. Photo courtesy of Seward Independent.
by Hope Moural
The state of Nebraska may have celebrated its 150 years of statehood on March 1, but the celebration is lasting year-round in Seward County, which celebrated its 150th birthday on April 4.
The City of Seward Sesquicentennial Committee has been planning this event for the past two years.
“Seeing the celebrations and activities that are occurring around our state again this year as we celebrate the S150 (Seward Sesquicentennial 150) brings me great joy,” committee member Jessica Kolterman said via email interview.
Events on the agenda for the month of April include planting trees for Arbor Day at the Nebraska National Guard Museum at 1 p.m. on April 24 and Seward County Arbor Day Event at the Seward County Museum on April 28. A “spring fling” with both a BBQ and live music is planned for April 26 at the Seward Bandshell.
“These sesquicentennial celebrations this year unite citizens and communities, as they honor momentous events, rites of passage, religious and governmental holidays, and milestone happenings,” Clark Kolterman, event coordinator and chairman said in an email interview.
The motto of the year-long celebration is “Deep Roots and High Hopes!” which looks to the past, present and future of both Seward and Nebraska.
“This celebration will really give us time to reflect and even express gratitude to the many who have worked very hard to make Seward the great community it has become over the last 150 years,” Clark Kolterman said.
Beyond April’s events, there will be a plethora of free or low-cost activities for Seward community members. There will be a water carnival and barbeques in the summer, as well as special presentations and educational classes based on the history of Seward for children. A highly anticipated event includes the dedication of a Standing Bear monument on May 6. The well-known Native American chief of the Ponca tribe has ties to Seward as his daughter died and was buried in Seward County while walking the Trail of Tears.
Concordia will also host events incorporating the S150 theme, such as Plum Creek Literary Festival hosting Patricia MacLachlan, the author of Sarah Plain and Tall. Concordia will also feature a hymn fest, student art exhibit and a Germanfest combining the S150 celebration with the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
Jessica Kolterman fondly reflected on the celebration of Seward during the quasquicentennial year, or 125th birthday of the county, and looks forward to future celebrations of local, state and national history.
“I am so excited that the next generation will have the same opportunities that I had, and even better ones, to gain knowledge of our state, to grow in an appreciation for it’s history, and to develop a sense of pride and excitement about what it means to be a Nebraskan,” Kolterman said.
More information of the year-long celebration can be found on the event’s Facebook page or website.