Imlay City to mark Sesquicentennial this weekend August 13-14

The village of Imlay City came into existence in 1870. This street scene shows Third Street looking west around 1910, some forty years later.

IMLAY CITY — This weekend’s Sesquicentennial celebration has been 150 years—plus one— in the making. Last year, 2020, marked 150 years since the founding of Imlay City in 1870 but like so many events, plans to celebrate that special milestone were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite that delay, organizers and volunteers with the Imlay City Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Development Authority have maintained their momentum to create a special two-day celebration this Friday and Saturday, August 13 and 14.

“It has been a pleasure for our organizations to work together to make this 150th event come together and honor Imlay City’s rich and diverse history,” said co-organizers Lorrelei Natke of the DDA and Shannon Hamel of the Chamber.

The festivities start Friday at noon when the Beverage Hall opens in the former fire hall on Third Street. That’s when vendors along Third Street will set up shop and the Kid Zone in Lamb Steele Park opens.

Friday’s schedule will be capped off with a fireworks show starting at dusk. The pyrotechnics will be set off from the Eastern Michigan State Fairgrounds and the public is welcome to park at the fairgrounds to see the display.

On both Friday and Saturday, the Imlay City Museum will be open to guests from 12-7:30 p.m. p.m. Visitors can tour the museum and grounds and support their efforts by purchasing whole pies, muffins and more.

Youngsters can find free refreshments, contests and performers at the Shady Belle Saloon stage, located on Main Street, just north of the museum on both Friday and Saturday.

Local music acts will be performing on the Beverage Hall stage both days.

Saturday’s main events include a Chris Cakes pancake breakfast at the old fire hall starting at 10 a.m. sponsored by Halabicky Insurance Group. Donations will be accepted at the door. An awards ceremony takes place at noon in the former fire hall where the Chamber’s Citizen of the Year, Merit Award winner and Organization of the Year will be recognized. That’s also when a time capsule from the 1970 Centennial celebration will be opened.

At 4 p.m. the Sesquicentennial Parade will wind through town. Entries will line up at the fairgrounds and travel north on Almont Ave., then east on Third St., north on Main St., and west on Fifth Street before heading south on Almont Ave. to return to the fairgrounds.

Members of founder Charles Palmer’s family will be special guests of honor in the parade. Following the parade a small reception will be held for them at the museum.

“We want to sincerely thank all of the sponsors and volunteers whose contributions have made this Sesquicentennial Celebration possible,” said Mayor Joi Kempf and City Manager Craig Horton.

Look for additional stories in this edition of the Tri-City Times with more details about kids activities, food vendors and performers. Additional copies of our Sesquicentennial special supplement can also be obtained from our offices, now through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.