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Springwater NY Sesquicentennial in 1967

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Mighty circus tent casts a cool shadow over workers and volunteers preparing for Sesquicentennial celebration in Springwater NY.

Photo courtesy of the Wayland Historical Society, Sandy Booth.

Happiness Is a Tent for the Sesqui

From the Democrat & Chronicle, 06 June 1967

By Bob Bickel

Springwater - The Sesquicentennial Committee here hasn’t been working hard with plans and details of the town’s eight-day Sesquicentennial celebration which starts June 18 for nothing.

They’ve been having a circus - or at least one part of one - The tent.

They got lucky twice - once when they found Albert Trapasso, Dansville auto dealer, who just happened to have a 120-foot, gally-striped circus tent stored in his garage.

He loaned it to the town rent-free.

But it’s a long jump from a huge tent wrapped up in separate sections, and a tent with the center poles up, the guy ropes placed, and the canvas taut.

Some time ago, Springwater volunteer firemen had their hands full with a little 20-foot tent. When they finally got it up it was inside-out.

But last Sunday they got the big top up properly and in jig time with the help of their second lucky break, William (Bill) Bailey, who just happens to have been a property man with Ringling Bros., Barnum and, yes, Bailey in his early years.

Bailey, a Sprngwater resident, saw to it that trapezes, high wires, and other circus properties, including tents, were put up right.

He is retired now and left the muscle work Sunday to the young Springwater men.

“Oh, did they work. They worked like horses,” Bailey said.

Getting the tent unpacked, the sections laced and the tent erected was no problem. “It’s like riding a bicycle,” Bailey said. “You never forget it. You’re a little green at first, but it comes back fast.”

Besides the tent, Springwater will have a brand new community pavilion on the grounds The permanent, open-sided building was put up just before Memorial Day.

The Springwater Sesquicentennial Celebration

By J. Reid Robinson

Without a doubt, the most exciting event that ever happened in the Springwater Valley occurred during the week of June 18-25, 1967. One hundred and fifty years ago, the Township of Springwater became a political unit of Livingston County on April 16 of the year 1816. However, the town officers of the newly erected township did not become active until April of the following year. A birthday of one hundred fifty years; a sesquicentennial!

A committee made up of representatives of several organizations from the community began the celebration by the first of the year. Edward Holmes was chosen general chairman.

As part of the celebration, the Springwater firemen conceived the idea of bringing the Livingston County Firemen’s Convention to Springwater as part of the celebration. This convention, under direction of the Springwater Fire Company headed by Gary Robinson as chairman, arranged for the carnival part of the affair, which provided the rides and other attractions.

A group of ambitious young men of the community worked weekends and nights for several weeks before the celebration was to take place, erecting the new Springwater Pavilion building and such other structures as seemed necessary.

A huge circus tent was loaned to the committee by a generous car dealer from Dansville. The local group would have been at a loss to know how to proceed to put up the tent had it not been for Bill Bailey, an old circus hand, who had a summer home on East Hill. The huge tent housed several concessions, such as the hamburger stand, the pizza stand, the turtle stand, the number wheel stand and a few others.

On the grounds, there were the usual carnival attractions.

The Springwater Sesquicentennial opened Sunday, the eighteenth of June, 1967. All during the afternoon and evening, the crowd was entertained by a Western Jamboree made up of several hill-billy bands. For those who came hungry, there was the chicken barbecue put on by the Webster’s Crossing Church.

Monday, the firemen of Livingston County held their yearly meeting and banquet, at which time they elected their officers for the coming year.

A square set dance competition took place during the evening with music by The Misfits, Howard Kramer, caller.

Tuesday the twentieth was Grange Day. A public dinner was held at the Grange Hall.

Wednesday evening was the antique parade. Although the weather was uncooperative, the parade was a grand success, with entries of old cars, fire engines, floats and horse drawn carriages coming from five or six counties.

Thursday evening the county firemen’s Queen was selected.

The Kiddies Parade on Friday at 7:00 PM and the rock and roll dance were the main attractions for the day.

Saturday was The Big Day! The day began with a ham shoot at 10:00 AM at the Rod and Gun Club grounds, followed by a public dinner held at the Methodist Church. At the carnival grounds, one could again enjoy a chicken barbecue put on by the Kern-Robinson Post of the American Legion.

At 7:30 PM, the Fireman’s Parade began with entries from six counties. The several fore companies assembled on Irene Miller’s lot west of her house. It required more than one hour for the parade to pass the judges’ stand.

Every available parking space along the streets from Dale Straight’s to the grange hall and from George Brokaw’s to Ronald Smith’s, besides all available space on the carnival grounds, was filled.

It was estimated that as many as five thousand people were on the carnival grounds after the parade, the greatest amount of people ever to be in Springwater at one time.

Throughout the week, there was on display a large number of old woodworking tools exhibited in the Ted Colegrove building by Hartenstein’s.

In the vacant Gowan store was exhibited several items of historical interest to the community. A display of Indian artifacts from the collection of J. R. Robinson was shown in the Gowan Store.

All historical points of interest were marked by suitable posters which were lettered and put up by Lois Haywood and J. R. Robinson.

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