Perry to celebrate 150 years July 5-7

Staff Report
Andrea Brownlee, portraying Celeste Council, prepares for her performance with the help of young popcorn consumer Ian Thompson. PHOTO SUBMITTED TO THE PERRY CHIEF

History will be highlighted during Perry's Sesquicentennial Celebration July 5-7.

“We have some really great programs lined up for really celebrating the milestone,” Perry Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lynsi Pasutti said.

A downtown public art tour will kick off the history programs at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 6. Jenny Eklund will lead the tour, which will start at the Perry Public Library. Pasutti said the tour will highlight the boulevard sculptures, which tell the history of Perry through the railroad, agriculture, industry and art.

The Wall of Witnesses will come to life at 10 a.m. on July 6 in Soumas Court. David Willis will lead a program, “Remembering Railroading” at 11 a.m. in the Carnegie Library Museum.

A guided tour of downtown historic fires will be led by Brian Eiteman at 2:30 p.m. on July 6 starting at Perry City Hall.

Pasutti added that the history components are a nice addition to the Sesquicentennial Celebration.

A wide variety of activities, both for kids and adults, will be offered throughout the three day event.

A Community Day of Service starts things off from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Friday, July 5.

“I think that will be a really great opportunity to spruce things up before the big downtown events on Saturday and just show some community pride,” Pasutti said.

For information about Pattee Park Cleanup, contact John Anderson at 465-5621. For information about Downtown Cleanup, contact Cheri Scheib at 515-229-9335. For information about projects at Perry Lutheran Home, contact Wanda Pritzel at 515-570-2310.

The Day of Service Volunteer Picnic will complete the morning's activities at 12 p.m. in the Pattee Park Shelter House.

Activities continue on Friday with a Fly-In/Drive-In Concert at the Perry Municipal Airport from 7-10 p.m.

Saturday's events include free kids activities, Railroad Street Music Fest at Railroad Stage, including The Okee Dokee Brothers, Vinyl Vagabonds, Porter Union, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and more.

The celebration wraps up on Sunday with a community breakfast and church tours in the afternoon.

“It's been really great to have this committee come together from all over,” Pasutti said.

She added that the planning committee has been working to put together an event “that hopefully the community is proud of and enjoys and can celebrate.”

More Information

For more information, including updates to the schedule, visit the City of Perry website,, or call the Perry Chamber at 515-465-4601.

Street Closures/Parking

The Fly-In/Drive-In Concert will start at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 5 at the Perry Municipal Airport with Adam Bruce, followed by The Jesters (Tom Petty Tribute Band) at 8:30 p.m. Vehicles will be directed to park in the grass parking lot at the airport. Visitors may bring their own beverages, provided it is in cans or plastic bottles, no glass bottles will be allowed.  There will be food vendors at the event.  Visitors are reminded to use caution when entering and exiting the driveway to the airport at Highway 141.

Saturday’s activities take place around town and in the downtown area.  The following streets will be closed ALL DAY on Saturday, July 6:

  • 2nd Street from Otley Street to Lucinda Street
  • Railroad Street from Willis Avenue to 2nd Street
  • Willis Avenue from 1st Street to 3rd Street
  • Warford Street from the alley between 1st St/2nd St and the Raccoon Valley Bank Drive-Thru

Please note, the Perry Public Library will only be open from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on July 6.

Voices From the Past

In honor of Perry's 150th birthday, six members of the Wall of Witnesses will step into the 21st Century at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 6 at Soumas Court in Perry.

Audience members will glimpse into the lives of Betty Mae Harris, played (and danced) by Sierra Coleman; historian Eugene Hastie, played by Joe Cerwinske; librarian Flora Bailey, played by Jill Cook; the “Popcorn Lady”, Celeste Council, played by Andrea Brownlee; cartoonist Snick Hamlin, played by Eoin Davis; and “everybody's friend,” Mike Kanealy, remembered by Pat Graney. 

People of all ages are invited to the free performance, made possible by Hometown Heritage. Dramatizations are written by Karol Crosbie and directed and produced by Merrilee Bales. Rain location is next door at the Town and Craft gallery.

Kids Activities

Perry Public Library will sponsor free Kids Activities from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 6 as part of Perry's community Sesquicentennial Celebration.

Face-painting, Toby the Balloon Dude, Absolute Science, Bubbles, Lost in Space Water Table, Giant Jenga, Giant Connect 4, Thumbprint Craft, photo booth, Buzz and Woody movie characters and more will entertain the whole family!

The library will close early, at 2 p.m., to accommodate street and stage activities on Railroad Street.

Run Through Time

The second annual Run Through Time 5K fun run or walk is set to take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 6 in conjunction with other Perry Sesquicentennial Celebration events. This run is presented by Perry Lutheran Homes and continues community-wide efforts to StepUp (Serve Together our Elderly in Perry) and take action to help our local elder citizens in need.

Local businesses, church groups, athletic groups, civic and social groups, families, and friends are encouraged to form teams and join in the fun. The Run Through Time 5K is an untimed fun run, jog or walk for all ages and fitness abilities. Participants are encouraged to dress up in their favorite decade attire and enjoy music, memories and blasts from the past.

Run Through Time is an out-and-back style fun run on the Raccoon River Valley Trail that starts and finishes at the Caboose Park. Run check-in starts at 6 p.m., a pre-run Zumba warm-up lead by Deb Miller starts at 6:45 p.m., and the run start time is 7 p.m. Registration for the run is all online at

All proceeds from this event will go to support both elder citizens living in Perry Lutheran Homes unable to afford care and those living in their homes in Dallas County.

Friday, July 5

8 a.m. - 12 p.m. - Community Day of Service at various locations

  • Pattee Park Cleanup, 8 a.m. - Contact John Anderson, 465-5621
  • Downtown Cleanup, 9 a.m. - Contact Cheri Scheib, 515-229-9335
  • Perry Lutheran Home - Contact Wanda Pritzel, 515-570-2310

12 p.m. - Day of Service Volunteer Picnic at Pattee Park Shelter House

8 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Airplane Rides (Scenic and Thrill), Airplanes Flying In, Airplanes on Display, Food Vendors at Perry Municipal Airport

10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - “Tracking Perry’s Railroader Heritage” Exhibit at Carnegie Library Museum

7 - 10 p.m. - Fly-in/Drive-in Concert at Walter Aviation, Perry Municipal Airport

  • 7 p.m. - Adam Bruce | 8:30 p.m. - The Jesters Tom Petty Tribute Band

Saturday, July 6

8 a.m. - Sesquicentennial Penny-farthing 15.0 Bike Ride from Perry to Minburn and Back (Meet at 18th and North - Trailhead)

9 a.m. Downtown Public Art Walking Tour with Jenny Eklund (Meet at Perry Public Library)

10 a.m. - 8 p.m. - Sesquicentennial Street Fair at 2nd Street

  • Vintage Wheels Show featuring cars, fire trucks, motorcycles, bicycles and more
  • Traditional Arts Fair featuring woodworking, pottery, glass blowing and more
  • Heritage Foods featuring local vendors with a variety of food options

​​10 a.m. - “Voices From The Past” Wall of Witnesses Dramatization at Soumas Court

10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Where in Perry? Scavenger Hunt at Perry Public Library

11 a.m. - “Remembering Railroading” with David Willis at Carnegie Library Museum

11 a.m. - 2 p.m. - Kids’ Activities at Railroad Street and Perry Public Library

  • Face Painting, Toby the Balloon Dude, Absolute Science, Bubbles, Lost in Space Water Table, Giant Jenga, Giant Connect 4, Thumbprint Craft, Photo Booth, Buzz and Woody Movie Characters and more

​11 a.m. - 12 p.m. - Bubble Gum Blowing Contest and Pie Eating Contest at Railroad Street

11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. - Pickle Ball Demonstrations at Corner of 2nd Street and Warford Street

12:30 - 1:45 p.m. - Grammy Award Winning The Okee Dokee Brothers at Railroad Stage (Between Perry Public Library and Carnegie Library Museum)

1:45 p.m. - Performance by Los Laureles Hispanic dance group at Railroad Street

1 - 3 p.m. - Guided Tours of Carnegie Library Museum

2:30 p.m. - Old Style Games at St. Patrick’s Church Lot

  • 3-legged races, gunny sack races, egg on a spoon races, Simon Says, wheelbarrow races, tug-of-war

2:30 - 4:30 p.m. - “Historic Downtown Fires” Walking Tours with Brian Eiteman (Meet at City Hall)

4 - 10 p.m. - Railroad Street Music Fest at Railroad Stage (Between Perry Public Library and Carnegie Library Museum)

  • 4 p.m. - The Rescue Dogs
  • 5:30 p.m. - Vinyl Vagabonds
  • 7 p.m. - Porter Union
  • 8:30 p.m. - Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

7 p.m. Perry Lutheran Homes’ Run Through Time 5K Fun Run/Walk (Start and finish at Caboose Park)

Sunday, July 7

7 a.m. - 12 p.m. - Community Breakfast ($10, Open to Public) at Elks Lodge #407

2 - 4 p.m. - “150 Years of Faithfulness” Church Tours and Prayer Service (Start at First United Methodist Church and End at Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church)

Perry Sesquicentennial Celebration Schedule