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Another one for the record books

Staff writer

Despite chilly temperatures and gray skies, the fourth annual Operation Celebration to honor the men and women who fought for America was a successful event for Peabody.

Peabody Main Street Association sponsored the event.

“We were a little disappointed in the weather,” PMSA director Shane Marler said. “All week the forecast looked good, but when we woke up Saturday morning it was pretty gloomy.

“I think that affected the turn out for the parade. We had several calls from people with vintage cars and military vehicles who decided not to come because of the possibility of rain.”

Marler said that while he thought attendance was down slightly, revenues were up.

“All of the meals did very well,” he said. “We had good support from reunion classes this year. The reunion organizers took advantage of the meals we were serving and that was good for us. In addition the restaurants stayed busy as well.”

Merchandise sales were good and sponsorships for the event were slightly higher than in 2010, he noted.

The American and German troop re-enactors from the World War II History Center in El Dorado set up their camps in Santa Fe Park and spent the day showing groups of visitors the tents, uniforms, and weapons of the era.

There was no charge to visit the Vault of Treasures in the former Walker Drug Store building. The focus this year was what Peabody and the home-front were like during the war years.

“There were lots of ‘oh, I remember that’ moments at the exhibit,” Marler said. “I think most visitors who remember those years got a kick out of seeing the memorabilia of the era.”

The “Siege on Peabody” also was a popular and well-attended event.

“The re-enactors do a good job of incorporating the downtown buildings into their skirmish,” Marler said. “It is pretty well done. It is loud, but people enjoy it. And the good guys win!”

Linda Orcutt of Peabody was the winner of $100 in Peabody Bucks for the best outfit from the 1940s. She wore a pink crepe suit that her mother wore on her honeymoon in 1943. The judges announced their selection at the “Puttin’ on the Ritz” evening meal.

“The dessert auction was a huge success once again,” Marler said. “The total for about 10 desserts was $1,600, a record for us. Even some of the members of the band hired for the evening entertainment got into the bidding.”

On Sunday night, the Senseney Music Community Band performed an hour-long concert and those in attendance had ice cream.

“And the weather was a bit better for that event,” Marler said. “Warm, humid, and windy — just like it is supposed to be in May in Kansas.”

Memorial Day services at Prairie Lawn Cemetery and the annual sophomore class dinner at the school drew sizable crowds.

Tom Schmidt of Peabody is a member of the Eighth Kansas Volunteer Infantry, a Civil War re-enactment group. They were part of the annual Memorial Day event at the cemetery and were the focus of a story May 31 in the Wichita Eagle.

“It was a good finish to a good weekend,” Schmidt said.

Last modified June 2, 2011

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