Tiblow Days anticipation
For more than two decades this was the most hectic, busiest and challenging week of the year. The reason? It was Tiblow Days week and since I was general chairman of the event it meant the phone at The Chieftain was ringing off the wall and the staff spent much of the working day helping answer Tiblow Days questions.
We used to joke that it was the week when we sold the fewest advertisements and made the most typographical errors. Yes, it was a major challenge, and one of the reasons I gave up being general chairperson when I was retired was that I didn’t have a staff. Despite all the hassle, I enjoyed the week, although I’m not sure my staff would agree.
The Tiblow Days celebration is, by far, the biggest event in Bonner Springs. It has grown through the years, and those who followed after me have done a tremendous job making a great event even better. They have added a lot of great new activities, including a carnival and a barbeque contest, to name a few. The barbecue contest is growing in size and popularity.
I still look forward to all the activities and events. The celebration has something for all ages. And, best of all other than the carnival rides there is no admission charge.
Sometimes I tend to forget there are a lot of new residents who might not know about the background of the event. Since 1979 the celebration has been sponsored by the Bonner Springs-Edwardsville Chamber of Commerce. It took over after the founders, the Jaycees, folded. The celebration is named after Henry Tiblow, a Delaware Indian who was one of the founders of Bonner Springs. If you remember, eight years ago Bonner Springs was working with the Delaware Indians in an unsuccessful attempt to build a casino locally. To help promote the project, a number of Delaware Indians attended Tiblow Days and performed dances during the Saturday program.
My involvement started as parade chairperson in 1980. I took over as general chairperson in 1981 and continued until we sold the Chieftain in 2000. After that I was a volunteer with the parade committee and except for last year was the announcer for the afternoon program at the bandstand at Kelly Murphy Park. Incidentally, I will be back at the bandstand this year but it will be a bittersweet experience since this will be the first time that I haven’t worked with good friend and loyal volunteer, the late Larry Berg.
My first love was always the parade. I believe there were several reasons that caused the parade to grow over the years. First, I had a great committee that worked year after year. They provided great leadership. Probably the biggest event was when the Shrine units agreed to participate. They are colorful, entertaining and bring a big crowd. Early on, we had only the Bonner Springs High School band participating. First, we added the now defunct Old Shawnee Town Marching Club, which was a group of high school students who enjoyed marching and had great volunteer leadership. One of the biggest breakthroughs was when the Basehor-Linwood High School band accepted an invitation to participate. Shortly afterwards, we secured the Piper High School band. I wonder how many people remember the Edwardsville Kiwanis Club band riding in a pick-up truck and led by Bill Wilhm? I believe that bands and music make parades successful.
Through the years, I have enjoyed the float competition. Until recently, the battle for the top trophy was usually between the Senior Citizens and the Bonner Beautiful Commission. If I had to pick my all-time favorite it would be the “I Heard It On The Grapevine” float with the senior citizens dressed as raisins.
I enjoyed the children’s parade, too. If you remember Rodger Shannon always donated a trophy for the best entry carrying out the theme of “Just Say No To Drugs.”
There is no doubt about the Friday night activity I enjoyed the most. If you recall each service club presented a comedy skit and the winner was selected by audience applause. I also enjoyed the centennial skit written and directed by Charles Thomas. I could go on and on. You can tell I enjoyed my years, but I am also glad they are behind me. My biggest fear was always the weather – I was always worried about temperatures being too high. We never had much problem with rain.
In my opinion the reason Tiblow Days is so successful is that almost every group and organization in the city participates. Groups decided to get involved because they were proud of Bonner Springs and wanted to help showcase it to the area. Truly, Tiblow Days is a tremendous example of why this is such a great community.
I hope that you will participate and enjoy Tiblow Days 2011.