ALPHA - While America celebrates its birthday on July 4, the village of Alpha will also be marking a milestone - 100 years as an incorporated community.
Centennial festivities will run from Thursday through Saturday at locations around the Alpha Circle, on the village hall lawn, the ball field, tennis court, and pavilion.
Events begin on Thursday at 11:30 a.m. with an opening ceremony.
Donnie Pick Band of Kaukauna, Wis., will perform Chicago style blues Saturday night at the Alpha Centennial celebration.
Registration for the Mastodon 5K begins at 11:30 a.m., with the race scheduled to start at noon. The entry fee, which includes a t-shirt, is $20 per person.
Kids' games and crafts, as well as a petting zoo, will be available from noon to 6 p.m. on the ball field.
Circus Boy will perform three shows, at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m., at the Alpha Senior Center. Tickets cost $7 for adults and $5 for children.
Live music starts at 1 p.m. with Midlife Crisis and continues at 3:30 p.m. with Ironland.
Also at 1 p.m., the all-class Alpha Reunion Family Gathering will take place at the pavilion.
During the afternoon, there will be a pie eating contest, a tug-of-war, the Alpha birthday cake decorating contest and cake walk, a street chalk art contest, a nail pounding contest, and the Bearded Men of Alpha contest.
The Bearded Men of Alpha contest begins at 1 p.m. with entries, and judging to follow at 2 p.m. Prizes will be given for the longest beard, pointiest beard, most original centennial-themed beard, and most authentic 1914 mustache and costume.
Alpha birthday cake decorating contest entries will be accepted from 3 p.m. to 3:45 p.m., with the judging set for 4 p.m. Cakes will be judged on the theme, "Village of Alpha and Alpha-Mastodon Fire Department Centennial." The cakes need to be edible, but will not be sampled.
The contest will be followed by an old-fashioned cake walk.
A historical radio play with local cast members will take place at the Alpha Senior Center at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets are $5 in advance and are available at the Alpha Senior Center and the Alpha General Store.
Thursday activities will close out with a fireman's ball/street dance at 8 p.m. Music will be provided by the Cadillacs.
Friday's events kick off with the flag-raising at the village hall at 9 a.m. The Porter School arts and crafts fair will also open at 9 a.m.
The Fourth of July parade, including floats, the Forest Park High School Band, and a kids' bicycle parade, will circle around Main Street beginning at 9:30 a.m. There will be a pie social after the parade at the Alpha Senior Center.
At 10 a.m., the Alpha-Mastodon Fire Department will offer Cracker Jacks and ice cream on the village hall lawn.
Live music provided by Crossroads will start at 11 a.m., followed by Stagger at 3 p.m.
Beginning at noon, the bounce house, petting zoo, games, races, and crafts will be available for children.
A horseshoe tournament behind the pavilion will kick off at 2 p.m.
Fireworks at about 9 p.m. will close the day's celebration.
Centennial activities will continue on Saturday.
From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., a fair and farmers market will take place at the Porter School.
Live music from Midlife Crisis will begin at 9 a.m.
The bounce house, games, races, and crafts will be available for children throughout the day.
An antique car show will have vintage autos on display from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Live music for the rest of the day will include Fireside at 11:30 a.m., Sons of Legend at 3:30 p.m., and Donnie Pick Band of Kaukauna, Wis., at 6 p.m.
To close out the centennial festivities, there will be another fireworks show at 9 p.m.