This year’s Old Settlers’ Day, Sept. 29 in Marion, will be the 101st iteration of the event. Any event with that long of a life has times when it waxes and wanes, and Casey Case of Marion Kiwanis — organizers of Old Setters’ Day — remembers a time when Old Settlers’ Day got an infusion of new energy.
Case estimated it was in the 1980s. Old Settlers’ Day wasn’t yet the day when all of the Marion High School graduating classes had their reunions; there were usually just a couple of class reunions that weekend. But then a push began to have all classes have reunions the weekend of Old Settlers’ Day. Case said the person most responsible for that push was Bill Meyer, longtime editor of the Marion County Record.
Case said the push for more class reunions worked. And it didn’t just work to bring back the classes celebrating a 10- or 20-year reunion.
“People who graduated in ’71 or ’73 may not have a reunion, but they know the class of ’72 will have a reunion,” and people are likely to come to see friends who weren’t in the same graduating class, Case said.
As of Friday, Case had heard from nine of the 13 graduating classes that will be celebrating an anniversary that is a multiple of five or 10 years — going back to 1947 — who will have a float in the parade. This will be his 13th year announcing the parade. He said there aren’t any parade entries yet that are out of the ordinary, but the Marion High School and Peabody-Burns High School bands will march in the parade.
This year’s theme for Old Settlers’ Day is “Marion City Library — Opening Books and Minds for 100 Years.” The library will have an open house from 1 to 4 p.m. Sept. 29. Marion Historical Museum will also be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Events begin at noon Sept. 28 with the Marion Country Club Golf Tournament. Events pick up again at 8 a.m. Sept. 29 with the Old Settlers’ Day Run, a 5-kilometer and 1-mile run starting at Marion County Park and Lake. The parade begins at 11 a.m. on Main Street, and a picnic in Central Park will follow the parade.
Games start in Central Park at 1 p.m., followed by a concert by MHS and Marion Middle School bands at 2 p.m. All classes having reunions will be recognized at 2:30 p.m. in the park.
This year there will be a special dance at 8 p.m. Sept. 29 at Marion County Lake, sponsored by the class of 1982. The dance will feature three live bands: Clearview, the Greenhorns, and Shag Nasty.