PORT ROYAL - It was 200 years in the making and took four years of planning, and now the small borough of Port Royal in Juniata County is ready to party.
Members of the Port Royal Bi-Centennial Committee watched on Friday as 13 commemorative banners were installed on light poles, signaling the start of a community-wide decorating effort for the big event.
The banners of deep red and blue feature a photograph of the bridge on state Route 75 that brings travelers across the Juniata River and onto Market Street, the borough's main drag. "Welcome to Port Royal," the banners say, noting that 2012 is the 200th anniversary of the town that was once called Perrysville, established in 1812. The bottom of the banners announce the dates of the big celebration - Sept. 28, 29 and 30.
Sentinel photo by JANE CANNON MORT
Jeff Bossinger, of C and J Tree Service, tightens a fastener while installing one of 13 colorful banners in Port Royal on Friday. The borough’s bicentennial celebration will take place Sept. 28 to 30.
Conceived by Bi-Centennial Committee member Mim Anstine, the banners were designed by Denny Hutchings, of Port Royal. The image of the bridge was taken by and used with permission from Nathan Holth, of HistoricBridges.org. The banners were purchased by the committee.
To augment the festive atmosphere created by the placement of the banners, Port Royal residents are being urged by the committee to spruce up their properties in anticipation of the many visitors expected to come to the bicentennial events in September.
To complement the decor around town, wooden whiskey barrels, acquired with the help of Russell Bryner, will be planted with seasonal annual flowers and placed on street corners and at the fairgrounds.
IF YOU GO
What: Port Royal Bi-Centennial Celebration
When: Sept. 28-30
Where: Port Royal, Juniata County
Residents getting into the spirit will be rewarded as the committee is staging a decorating contest with prizes in various categories. Details will be announced later.
Those wishing to decorate with flags don't have far to go to pick up supplies. Fan flags in two sizes, as well as pull down flags may be purchased, along with a variety of other commemorative items, at the Bi-Centennial Shop at 410 Milford St., (the former flower shop). Building owner Barney Gray has donated the use of the shop to the committee for the duration of the celebration.
The store is open from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturdays, with additional hours coming by the end of May.
Copies of the book "A 200-Year Journey: Perrysville to Port Royal 1812-2012" are available at the store, and there will be crocks coming in a few weeks.
Residents may also want to start getting ready for the Beard Contest and Period Dress Contest that will be held in conjunction with the bicentennial celebration. More details will be released later.
The ongoing brick memory walk at the site of the borough's former high school continues. For more information or to order bricks, send an email to email@example.com. Bricks must be ordered by July 1 to be placed in time for the celebration.
The celebration weekend
The bicentennial celebration weekend will kick off with a Port Royal/Tuscarora Valley High School reunion luncheon at 1 p.m. on Sept. 28. Anyone who attended those two schools through 1968 are invited to attend. To make reservations, call Sis Reynolds, of Port Royal at 527-4890.
The opening ceremony will begin later that day, at 6 p.m on the grandstand stage at the fairgrounds. The ceremony will include a welcome address, prayer and poem about Port Royal and a brief history of the borough; period dress contest; entertainment by dancers from the Margaret McCann School of Dance; naming of the winners of the property decoration contest; musical entertainment by This Way Up; and the men's beard judging contest.
On Sept. 29, there will be a re-enactment of Steven Pomeroy's historic Civil War ride through Port Royal at 9:30 a.m. There will also be a Civil War re-enactment all day at Moyer Park, including a battle with artillery at 10 a.m.
The Port Royal 200 Parade steps off at 2 p.m., followed by entertainment from local musical groups from 5 to 8 p.m. on the grandstand stage at the fairgrounds. Performing will be The Esquires, Faces4Radio, The Sinceres, Old Time Dulcimer Band, The Boyz and the Susquehanna Valley Square Dancers.
On Sept. 30, there will be a community church service at 2 p.m. on the grandstand stage at the fairgrounds, led by pastors from Port Royal Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and Faith Bible churches.
After the church service, there will be a salute to military veterans featuring the Good News Singers, Juniata County Veterans 21-gun salute and U.S. flag folding, and Ethan Fowler on bagpipes.
Ongoing activities throughout the weekend include bus tours of Port Royal and the surrounding area (for a nominal fee), as well as a Memorabilia Museum, Textiles Display, Kids' Activities, displays of race cars, antique tractors, old and new fire equipment, hit and miss engines, and food concessions at the fairgrounds.
The committee will hold another meeting at 7 p.m. on May 3 at the Turbett Grange. Volunteers are welcome.
The banners were placed in Port Royal by Christ Ehrenzeller and Jeff Bossinger, of C and J Tree Services, who donated their services.