So long, sesquicentennial

The Soggy Bottom Science Boys played the Friday, Jan. 10 reception concluding Wahpeton’s year-round sesquicentennial celebration. Residents and visitors gathered at the Wahpeton Event Center for appetizers and cheer. From left, lead singer Joel Johnson, bassist Rick Hendrickson, drummer Dave Chase and lead guitarist Steve Johnson.

Wahpeton’s 150th anniversary celebration lasted a little longer.

A closing reception for the 2019 event was held from 5-8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10 at the Wahpeton Event Center. Guests enjoyed free appetizers, a vendor fair and the music of the Soggy Bottom Science Boys.

“We’ve had good turnout at these events and for the most part, good weather,” Wahpeton Community Development Director Chris DeVries said. “I want to thank everybody for coming out.”

Paul Sjurseth, owner of the Wahpeton Event Center, said he was excited to be a part of the sesquicentennial celebration.

“We had worked with the Convention and Visitors Bureau and I’m happy to be working with Chris and the city,” Sjurseth said.

The 150th reception was held approximately six months after the event center’s July 16, 2019 opening and nearly one year after Winter Wonderland, the first of four weekend-long parties.

Winter Wonderland was held from Jan. 31-Feb. 2, 2019. Temperatures reached a high of 26 degrees Fahrenheit on Feb. 2, nearly 60 degrees warmer than temperatures a few days earlier.

“An all-ages crowd gathered at Chahinkapa Park for the fireworks finale,” Daily News previously reported. “Intended to be a spectacular, it featured pyrotechnics from Little Unny’s Fireworks.”

A few months later, approximately 1,500 guests gathered June 1 on Frank Vertin Field at North Dakota State College of Science’s Wahpeton campus. The Challengers, Billy D and the Crystals and Redline headlined the Summer Sizzle concert.

“Crowd-pleasing favorites played throughout the evening. Songs played included uptempo anthems like ‘Small Town’ to sentimental pieces like ‘My Maria,’” Daily News reported.

The BBQ-Farming Fun Fest concluded Saturday, Sept. 14 with the Classy and Classic Car Show and the Bull Bash. While the car show was held in downtown Wahpeton, the Bull Bash took place on Frank Vertin Field.

“We’ve had a lot of good moments and we want to see some of these events continue,” DeVries said.

Bull Bash has already been announced as a returning event. It is expected to be held again as soon as September 2020.

“This is about supporting our fire department, helping its members stay up to date and safe,” Richland County Emergency Manager Brett Lambrecht said previously. “We want to have the best equipment for any fire.”

Thanksgiving weekend brought Thanks for 150 Years, which included the Holiday Lights Parade through Chahinkapa Park. It was one of several pre-Christmas attractions delighting guests and residents.

While no big celebrations are planned for the near future, DeVries said more music-based events could be coming soon.

“Summer Sizzle’s concert was a one location, one evening event. We’re looking at possibly a festival using more locations and lasting longer,” he said.

Sesquicentennial event photos can be seen at

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