Jubilee Days History Brought to Life
With a history stretching as far back as 1940, Jubilee Days returns next week for it's 78th year. Originally, the word "Jubilee" meant celebrating a 50th anniversary, before it's etymology changed to give it a connotation to celebrate any occasion. The first Jubilee Days (Then called Equality Jubilee Days,) was a celebration of 50 years since Wyoming's statehood.
Over the years, Jubilee Days has become a Laramie staple, changing with the times as the city it celebrates changed as well. Jean Howe Krafczik Britton, the first Jubilee Rodeo Queen from 1940, wrote a history of the festival in a 1987 book “Laramie, Gem City of the Plains,” and spoke of horse races being held near the old refinery on Cedar street.
The Carnival had a full block to itself in 1949, due to a fire that wiped out the block on 2nd Street between Kearney and Garfield in 1948. Years later, the same downtown block would transform with boardwalks placed down on the streets for the week of Jubilee Days.
The Parade and the Jubilee Days Queen have always been staples since the very first celebration, though other events have come and gone. A "Whisker Growing Contest" became popular in local bars during Jubilee Days in the '60s. Families of tourists not wearing the proper "Western Attire" for the celebration would be mock-arrested and put on trial by the Jubilee Days Committee. Their punishment if found guilty? Rodeo tickets and lodging, plus coupons for the "Right kind of clothing" at local shops.
Jubilee Days kicks off Saturday, July 7th with the Kids Horse Show at the Albany County Fairgrounds.