Fairfield prepares for centennial event
Celebration June 11-13 will include raising a flag that will fly over D.C. on March 3
Plans are taking shape for Fairfield’s 2010 Flag Day celebration – an event that will put the small community in the nation’s record books.
The June 11-13 celebration will mark Fairfield’s 100th anniversary honoring the flag as the patriotic symbol of the United States. According to a press release from organizers, no other Flag Day event in the nation comes close to Fairfield’s record.
“We will be rolling out the red carpet for the 100th time, something that has not been done by another community in the United States,” said Mayor Ed Huber. “And we hope that all of the former citizens of Fairfield and the surrounding communities will make this the celebration to attend.”
A highlight of the weekend aimed at making the event even more special, Huber said, will be the raising of an American flag at the Southeast Spokane County Museum during the dedication of a new flagpole.
“The flag that will be presented by the Southeast Spokane County Historical Society, will fly over the nation’s Capitol on March 3,” the mayor said, noting that was the date in 1905 that Fairfield was incorporated. “The flag and flagpole will be dedicated to all Fairfield citizens, past and present, who have served their country in the military. We felt that this was the perfect way to honor the patriotism that Flag Day is all about.”
He said the flag “has been acquired with the help of the staff of U.S. Sen. Patty Murray.”
Among those who will be honored guests for the parade and the flag dedication will be World War II Medal of Honor recipient Vernon Baker who lives in nearby St. Maries, Idaho.
The weekend will kick off on June 11 at Liberty High School with a program and open house for graduates of both Fairfield and Liberty high graduates. There also will be the traditional high school dance at the Fairfield fire hall that night.
Events June 12 will begin with the annual 5K run starting at 8 a.m. The traditional parade – which this year is expected to include a number of elected officials, both national and state, will begin at 10:30 a.m., kicking off with the children’s parade. Also included in the parade will be the Air National Guard of the Northwest band stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base, the Spokane El Katif Shrine Band and units, and the Liberty school band.
At noon, following the flagpole dedication, the Community Center will once again be turned into the largest “restaurant” in Fairfield for the annual lunch served by the Liberty High School FFA club.
“This has always been an emotional event because it gives former residents a chance to sit down to catch up and talk about the ‘good old days,’ “ Huber said.
Sunday’s schedule will be left up to the various graduating classes from both high schools. It includes a combined church service and an open house at the museum, affording an opportunity for graduates from both high schools.
Traditionally, Flag Day has also hosted the 50th Fairfield High School graduating class of a particular year but this time around it will be a rather ironic difference.
“There were 50 Fairfield High School graduating classes up to the time the school merged with the nearby towns of Latah, Plaza, Spangle and Waverly to form the Liberty School District,” said Walt Schaar, president of the museum board. “And as of next spring, Liberty will graduate its 50th class, so we’ve decided to combine both schools and hold one big party for all graduates of both schools.”
The search for graduates of the two schools has been under way all year, Schaar said.
“We’ve been seeking the names and addresses of as many grads as we can find,” he said. “So far the response has been great. We’re really looking forward to bringing as many former graduates as possible to the weekend. And we’re also looking for help in spreading the word.”
Huber added, “It is especially gratifying to see so many former residents of Fairfield in assisting the Fairfield Service Club to work on this historic day for our town. They will be coming from all over the country.”
He said that some of those who have indicated they will be there “go as far back as the 1930s.”
Schaar said that anyone who hasn’t signed up yet can go to the Flag Day Web site, Fairfieldflagday.com, for information.
Not only has the Service Club and current and former Fairfield residents been involved, Schaar said the Coeur d’Alene Indian Tribe’s casino in Worley, Idaho, is lending a helping hand.
“The tribe’s casino officials have offered a special room rate for people who will be needing hotel accommodations, and they will also transport them to Liberty on Friday night and Fairfield on Saturday in a bus that will stick around all day to help people move from one place to another,” Schaar said. “The entire community is very grateful that the Coeur d’Alene Tribe has generously stepped in to help their neighbors in Fairfield.
Fairfield native Alden B. “Joe” Cross is a retired newspaper reporter living in Las Vegas. He worked at The Spokesman-Review in the 1960s and ‘70s.