Laramie’s 150th Anniversary Kickoff Event Begins Friday
Laramie is getting ready to celebrate its 150th anniversary this weekend, with the kickoff beginning this Friday, May 4 at the Wyoming Territorial Prison.
Mike Gray, assistant director of the Albany County Tourism Board, said the events will begin at noon on Friday with activities for students.
Gray said there will be hands-on activities for children to learn about Laramie’s history, including historical stations where they can learn about the Pony Express, try their hand at Morse Code and learn about blacksmithing. Gray said the Laramie Fire Department and the Laramie Police Department will be present as well, with vintage equipment.
“It’s celebrating our history 150 years ago, but also throughout the years up to today,” Gray said.
Gray said the hands-on history celebration is from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For adults, Gray said there is a schedule of movies and television shows that explore the history of Laramie, such as the PBS documentary “End of Tracks,” which follows the Union Pacific Railroad path through Laramie and Cheyenne to in Promontory Point in Utah.
Beginning at 3 p.m., an array of guest speakers are also lined up, who will each dive into different topics from Laramie’s history. Topics covered will include a look into the life of favorite Laramie characters such as Edward and Jane Ivinson, the history of bicycling in Laramie, the Wilcox train robbery, frontier women in Wyoming and the history of Chicanos in Laramie.
Live music will be provided by local bands Whiskey Slaps and Moral Panic and food trucks will be parked at the prison as well.
On Saturday, May 5 the celebration continues. Gray said a model train display is set at the Laramie Railroad Depot from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will include historic train photos and an outdoor movie. The model train show will also be open on Sunday, May 6 from 10:00 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Also on Saturday, a Cinco de Mayo celebration will be held at the Lincoln Community Center. Gray said the celebration happens every year, but this year the organizers decided to tie it in with the 150th anniversary celebration festivities. The celebration will include Mexican food, margaritas, a mariachi band and a car show.
On Monday and Tuesday May 7 and 8, there will be a historical art exhibition from 4:40 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Laramie Railroad Depot. The schedule of events can be found at visitlaramie.org.
Gray emphasized that all Laramie’s 150th Anniversary events are free to the public.
Laramie Mayor Andrea Summerville said the events are free of charge, thanks to the hard work and outpouring of support from the Laramie community.
“We have a tremendous community and we have a lot of different community groups who have come together with the city that have worked really hard over the last few months to put all this together,” Summerville said. “The Wyoming Territorial Prison has certainly stepped up and helped us to be our host for the kickoff event, we’ve had a lot of help from our historical groups and our museum groups in town, the Lincoln Community Center and the City of Laramie Parks and Rec department and some of the other departments in the city- there’s a whole big list.”
Summerville said those groups also contributed money. She said the City of Laramie contributed $5,000 that it had raised. Gray said the event also has many donors from Laramie businesses.
Summerville said she hopes people come out to enjoy the results of months of hard work and planning.
“We just want to encourage people to come out on Friday or Saturday or Sunday and come to the events and bring the kids,” Summerville said.
This week marks the kickoff of a year-long schedule of events to celebrate Laramie’s 150th anniversary.