The year was 1950 and Alliance had a party – one that only happens every 100 years – and everyone in town was involved. The Alliance Centennial celebration took place from August 26-September 3, 1950. There were beard-growing contests for the men, a Kangaroo court, beauty contests, and parades. As one advertisement put it, there was “something doing every minute!”
The Miss Alliance contest placed the young ladies in a contest to see who could get the most points by selling tickets to the Centennial Pageant, “Echoes of a Century,” which was so large, it had to be held in the Mount Union Stadium. Nearly 100 ladies competed in the five-week contest to sell tickets to the “gigantic pageant spectacle” that was held for six nights. The winner was Marilyn Thomas with 1,833,312 votes which included 1,306,900 admission ticket votes, 52,535 newspaper votes, 1,200 dance votes, 172,677 bonus votes and 300,000 courtesy votes.
Governor Lausche attended the festivities as did Kay Glenwright DeWitt, who had sung at President Truman’s inauguration. A large balloon parade with horse and cat balloons that were three-stories high snaked its way through Alliance from Mount Union to downtown, a grand parade with 18 bands and scores of floats and marching units participated in the grand parade, and a spirited twirling competition took place at Public Square. Even a 2800 pound birthday cake was baked for the crowd.
Yes, it was a birthday party of mammoth proportions. We are fortunate that Mabel Hartzell compiled a comprehensive scrapbook that is now available online for all to enjoy, 65 years later. See it at http://www.alliancememory.org/cdm/ref/collection/p15190coll1/id/509