Titusville Centennial Celebration

6 Feb

A Slice of Life

  Bill Lites

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The year was 1968 and Titusville was celebrating its 100th year of founding anniversary.  The city had been growing from it 250 inhabitants, in 1886, and this was a festive occasion for young and old alike.

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For the duration of the celebration, many of the local families dressed in period clothes to remind us of the era of days gone by.   All the men were instructed to wear beards and all the women were not to wear makeup if they didn’t want to be fined by the city fathers.

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There were reenactments with folks in period dress and there were riverboat rides up and down the Indian River.

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There were parades thru downtown, covered dish dinners on the grounds.And then there were street dances, buggy rides and hayrides, as well as fireworks.

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At the same time, many of the inhabitants of Titusville were working day and night across the Indian River, at the Kennedy Space Center, preparing the world’s largest rocket to send men to the moon for the first time.  The East Central Florida area, with its Cape Canaveral rocket launch facility had been known, ever since the early 1950’s, as “America’s Doorway to the Stars.” Now NASA and its many contractors were on the threshold of fulfilling President Kennedy’s challenge, ‘To put men on the moon and return them safely to the Earth.’  The method for accomplishing that Herculean effort was the mighty Apollo/Saturn V moon rocket program that at the time encompassed over 300,000 workers nationwide.

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It would be another year and a half before that historical event would take place, but the Titusville Centennial was a wonderful way for many of the Space Center workers to relax, during their time away from work, and help celebrate another memorable local event.

 

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One of the most interesting events, during the Centennial Celebration time for me, was the unusual beard contest, which was held after the men had allotted time to grow and fashion their beards.  I can’t remember who won the contest, but it was amazing how some of the men were able to come up with the designs they did.

As it turned out, DiVoran and I were members of the Titusville Twirlaways Square Dance Club during the time of the Centennial Celebration, and much of the period costumes fit right in with our square dance outfits.

 

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When our children’s school was out for the summer, a group of dancers from our club traveled to Fontana Village, NC for a week of square dance classes, round dance classes and relaxation.

 

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It was a wonderful and fun experience, with morning and afternoon dance lessons, and then evening skits and dancing the new routines, we had learned earlier in the day.  Couples and clubs came from all over the Southeast to enjoy the camaraderie of a large group of people with the same interest.

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And so, that was how it was for the many of us who were part of two of the most opposite events taking place at the time.  One, a small little-known town’s 100th Centennial Celebration and the other, the U.S. landing of the first men on the Moon, which was celebrated by many people worldwide.

2 Chronicles 15:7

 

One Response to “Titusville Centennial Celebration”

  1. oldthingsrnew February 6, 2013 at 8:49 am #

    I love the contrast of the past and future.

    Like

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