Welcome Home

August 3, 2017

It’s that time of year once again. The first weekend in August is the time when Marionites have traditionally felt the ‘old homestead’ or the ‘old school’ calling, no matter where they may be. It begins with long, warm summer days and a whiff of fresh cut hay. Before we know it we’re thinking of Marion with a soft heart and the Middle Branch’s gentle ripple is speaking to us late at night. We can almost hear friends calling our name.  Marionites have been hearing and heeding that call for

Julie Traynor Postcards from the Pine Columnist

Julie Traynor
Postcards from the Pine Columnist

more than 100 years now, the past fifty-nine of them our beloved Old Fashioned Days.

Perhaps I’ve noticed the chatter a bit more this year, as many of my Facebook friends are heading to Marion for our annual Old Fashioned Days celebration and to attend class reunions. This year it is the Class of 1967, the honored 50 year class and the first Eagles to graduate from the new Marion High School gymnasium, who will be riding the MHS alumni float. We look forward to seeing old school friends just as we look forward to seeing all our Marionite friends. We’ll all enjoy ourselves and our fair village along the Banks of the Middle Branch in the August sunshine once again.

Marion has been throwing the party and folks have been coming home during the first week of August since the celebration got its start in 1912. There probably wasn’t a soul left in the surrounding countryside on that August 7. People walked, piled on wagons and rode the train from neighboring towns. It was claimed that 3,000 persons came to town on that day. There are photos of the Big Day, as it was first called, and they record the excitement pretty well. In crisp black and white, they show our broad Main Street filled with busy, happy people, clearly in party mode. Photos of those early parades are so clear that you can almost hear the music and smell the popcorn, however, judging from the numbers of horses in town on that day, it probably wasn’t the smell of popcorn that folks got. 

The 7th of August celebration of 1950, which included carnival rides on a closed Main Street, boasted an attendance of 4,000. The homecoming of 1951 was the last coincidently occurring on, and bearing the name, 7th of August. The Marion Chamber of Commerce established what we know today as Old Fashioned Days in 1958.

Old Fashioned Days has given us the chance to celebrate all the things we consider us. Through the years we’ve celebrated the founding of our little town and its lumbering roots. We’ve seen beard growing contests and more than one fashion show harking back to grandma’s closet. We’ve paraded more horses than we can count up the street. We’ve celebrated all forms of wheeled conveyance, from a surrey with fringe on top, Model T’s, and ’57 Chevy’s, to almost more tractors than anyone could count. We’ve feted celebrities. WWTV’s well known kids show host, Kenny Roberts the Jumping Cowboy, rode his horse Starlight in the first Old Fashioned Day parade. We’ve seen more hopeful local politicians than we can begin to remember.

This year we remember and thank those who come to our aid in times when we most need help, our emergency and first responders; firefighters, EMT’s, drivers and all who selflessly come when we need help.

Already memories of the famous Marion mural are fading fast. The painting was covered over a few years ago due to deterioration.

Already memories of the famous Marion mural are fading fast. The painting was covered over a few years ago due to deterioration.

These are some of the ingredients of a successful homecoming. Throw in a Kid’s parade in the morning, kayak racing on the Pond, a Duck Race on the Middle Branch, barbequed chicken at the VFW at noon, a penny pile for the kids and a smattering of soft ball, you’ve got just the right mix for another successful Marion homecoming. Marionites, near and far, still love a good parade, a good bargain, plenty of good food, and the chance to meet old friends.

If you haven’t been to Marion in a while we hope that you enjoy your visit and that things around here look good to you. We know many memories live here. Just remember; the times they have been a changin’ for us too.

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2 Responses to Welcome Home

  1. Trudy Reply

    August 6, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    My Dad’s birthday was August 7th, so he always felt that Old Fashion Days were his special birthday celebration! Haven’t been to one since he has been gone, but next year would have been his 100 birthday, so maybe I’ll have to come!

  2. Douglas Baughan Reply

    August 5, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    I miss Marion every day. Come back to Marion twice a year. Once in JUNE for the Martin reunion and in November for dear hunting. Hate to leave every time. But someone has to go to work and earn the money in order to survive.

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