The city of Ames is combining its 150th birthday celebration with this year’s celebration of America’s birth. Assistant City Manger, Melissa Mundt, says the groups trying to decide how to celebrate the city’s sesquicentennial decided it would be a good fit to add onto the annual July 4th events. “We have so many things going on here in the community all the time that we thought maybe trying to add a new date was not the best,” Mundt says. “So we looked at our Fourth of July and said we already have a parade and a small kids area and some music afterward, and we said ‘could do better.’ So, for this one year let’s blow it up — no pun intended — on this Fourth of July.”
The annual Independence Day fireworks display has been moved up to tonight and Mundt says the sesquicentennial events will start too. She says that includes a community barbecue and birthday cake at Reiman Gardens before the fireworks. “That all starts around six and should just be a really nice evening out there with our municipal band and a lot of family fun,” Mundt says.
She says they have events planned through the weekend to highlight the history of Ames. She says one of the bigger events is the Chautauqua historical festival Saturday at their bandshell from 10 a-m until 6 p-m. “We’re actually bringing back folks from the community that have kind of made it big in arts and entertainment,” Mundt says.
The Ames Historical Society will be open with displays on the city history. Mundt says they are celebrating the city’s past, while also looking to the future.
“I think we are poised for some really interesting growth in the future. We’ve got a lot of companies locating here that have agriculture or technology focuses, you know, pulling all that kind of development into the community,” Mundt says, “and just the growth in the community. We’ve added quite a few new houses in the last number of years and our university population has definitely spiked up.”
The actual birthdate of the city is still several months away. Mundt says the first city blocks were laid out on December 17, 1864. Ames was named after Oakes Ames, a railroad promoter and congressman from Massachusetts who was the friend of the railroad president.
To find out more about the Ames Sesquicentennial Celebration, go to: www.ames150.com.