Plenty of activities planned for Benton's Neighbor Days festival

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

BENTON, Mo. -- The culmination of the beard-growing contest isn't all that's planned this weekend as Benton culminates its sesquicentennial celebration.

Throughout the Neighbor Days festival, the Benton Chamber of Commerce will have special T-shirts, a 165-page sesquicentennial photo book and its legacy bricks for sale. The legacy bricks are $50 each and can be engraved with up to 45 characters of text the individuals choose. They will be placed on the east side of the steps to the south of the courthouse.

Benton's sesquicentennial time capsule will also be buried in that area, said Christy LeGrand, coordinator of the celebration.

"Everything is going into a vault, and there will be a monument on top of it," she said. "In 50 years, they will be able to find our capsule."

In April, organizers planned to dig up and unveil the contents of the time capsule said to have been buried 50 years ago, during Benton's centennial. However, despite lots of digging and even searching with metal detectors, the capsule couldn't be found.

LeGrand said several items will be placed in the capsule -- including maps of Benton, "tons of photographs," the current Missouri Blue Book, winning essays from a contest amongst sixth and seventh grade students, copies of all of the front pages of the Standard Democrat for the year to date, and more.

The capsule will be on a sesquicentennial float near the beginning of Saturday's Neighbor Day parade, said LeGrand. "Right after the parade, there will be a brief burial ceremony on the courthouse grounds," she said.

A special activity has been planned for the afternoon at the ballpark.

"People who attended June's event really enjoyed the scavenger hunt, so we're going to have another," she said. Registration will be at the table set up in the old school from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., when the first clues go out. Prize packages will be given to the winner, and teams can have up to four members, with at least one 13 or older.

Throughout the weekend the "Belles of Benton" -- women wearing period attire -- will also be out. On Friday, they will participate in a fashion review during the pageants. And on Saturday, the Belles will reappear to escort the bearded men.

LeGrand said that while it's been hectic planning all of the sesquicentennial events over the past year, they have been fun.

"I really hope people enjoyed it," she said.

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