Centennial more than meets organizers’ expectations

What do you say after the event you’ve spent nine years planning for finally comes and goes?
If you’re the Chapple heritage committee, that word would be “wow.”
Committee member Rilla Race said she was astounded by the number of people who took part in the township’s centennial celebrations over the holiday weekend.
All of the tours were full, she said, with the old blacksmith shop and threshing demonstration at the Both farm north of Barwick drawing about 400 people Saturday afternoon.
“I think pretty much everyone who registered came, plus,” Race noted. “I couldn’t give you numbers but there were a lot of locals that came for the day or for an event.
“The museum was so full you could hardly get in the door most of the time,” she added. “We were just overwhelmed by the response from people.”
June Wheatley, another committee member, said 650 people had registered for the centennial weekend, most of whom no longer live in Chapple but either lived there or gone to school there long ago.
“They were surprised to see Barwick had such beautiful little park facilities and paved streets and things like that,” Wheatley said. “One of the best parts was seeing people who hadn’t seen each other for years and years. One couple hadn’t seen each other for 63 years.
“Those kinds of things were really special,” she enthused.
“One comment was they were glad there weren’t too many events,” Race said, noting people had time to sit and catch up with their seldom seen friends.
“I think it was a really important part of the weekend,” she remarked.
Another indication of the centennial’s success was all the positive comments from people. Race credited that to the families of volunteers who helped look after the 650 registered guests.
“Everything flowed just beautifully,” she said. “[But] we would never had gotten through this without all the extra volunteer help we’ve had.”
“I have to give credit to a tremendous committee plus a lot of volunteer help from the community, which we needed,” agreed Wheatley.
Chapple still has a few more centennial events to celebrate this year, such as its potluck supper Sept. 14, which was the township’s actual incorporation date back in 1899.
But for the most part, the big job is done. Now all that’s left to do is bask in the experience.
“From the committee’s point of view, we were really happy how things turned out,” Race said.
“It was just fun,” echoed Wheatley. “People seemed to be having a good time.”