New Castle News

September 9, 2013

Photo Gallery, Story: New Wilmington turns 150 with two days of special events

Sam Luptak Jr.
New Castle News

NEW WILMINGTON — The year was 1863.

Abraham Lincoln was president. The Civil War was raging in its most bloody year, and the state of Pennsylvania granted a charter to New Wilmington, designating the area “a half-borough.”

Regardless of what it initially was called, New Wilmington officially had come into  existence.

The community celebrated its sesquicentennial over the weekend with two days of events, parades, speakers, performances, vendors, special dedications and activities. The main road through the borough was shut down as hundreds filled the streets to enjoy the festivities.

The celebration got under way at 10 a.m.  Saturday with a parade. Hundreds lined the streets to see the dozens of fire trucks, floats, bands and dignitaries pass by.

Among those enjoying the parade were 4-year-old Abbey Adams, her 8-year-old sister, Paris, and their 4-year-old cousin, Skylar Korby. All three agreed that their favorite part of the parade was the candy thrown by parade participants, and each had collected a large bag of it. In addition to the candy, Abbey and Paris loved the cheerleaders, while Skylar said her favorite was the trumpets.

The parade was followed by opening ceremonies and introduction of guests. A number of proclamations honoring the commemoration were read, including one from Congress, and guest speaker Adm. Robert Shumaker, a former New Wilmington resident, spoke to the crowds.

Historical markers commemorating the two town squares in New Wilmington were dedicated, and a time capsule was buried in the borough.

A 5K race kicked off yesterday’s events. A community worship service and an antique car show highlighted the rest of the day. Concerts by the Wilmington  High School Band and several other groups took place on the main stage, and the two-day celebration closed with a fireworks display last night.

Throughout the event, local artisans, businesses and nonprofit organizations lined the streets. There were various open houses across the borough, including Wilmington high and elementary schools and the fire department. Food vendors sold their sausage, hot dogs, and funnel cakes on the streets. For those with more discriminating tastes, local restaurants had expanded hours and specials for the event.

Most who were there recognized that this was a once-in-a-lifetime event, and were ecstatic to be a part of such a special celebration.