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Will Worth and Ridge tag-team for centennial parade?

  • Written by Bob Rakow

  Both Worth and Chicago Ridge turn 100 in 2014 and plans are underway for celebrations in both communities however plans for a joint parade in the summer are unclear. 

  Chicago Ridge officials are all for it.
  Worth officials are not sure at this early juncture.
  “There were a lot of concerns,” Worth Mayor Mary Werner said. “It’s a long parade.”
  A joint parade with Chicago Ridge would step off on Ridgeland Avenue near Birmingham Street and proceed to 111th Street where it would head into Worth and end near village hall.
  Chicago Ridge Mayor Chuck Tokar favors a joint centennial parade.
  “I’m old enough to remember the last one we did with Worth,” said Tokar, recalling the parade held to celebrate the communities’ 75th anniversaries.
  Tokar said he supports celebrating a milestone date with a neighboring community. He added that joining the resources of the towns would result in a better parade with more popular entries.
  Perhaps the first order of business for organizers of Worth’s centennial celebration, however, is to determine the correct date of the village incorporation.
  Village officials were “99.9 percent certain” that Oct. 8 was the official date, but the actual date may be Aug. 29, according to the secretary of state’s office and state archives, Werner said.
  The correct date is important because the village wants to have a 100-day countdown as part of its celebration.
  The village board on Tuesday approved an ordinance that formally creates a centennial celebration committee.
  “We have to make it official,” said Werner, who became part of village history in April when she was elected Worth’s first female mayor.
  Werner met informally in November with the 25 from individuals who will serve on the centennial committee.
  “Everyone is very enthusiastic,” she said. “I got a very good response.”
  The committee, which is made up of representatives from the village, library, park district, schools and various community organizations, will meet on Jan. 6 to begin planning the celebration.
  Plans call for the village to have a monthly event to celebrate the centennial leading up to Worth Days, the annual summer festival that celebrates the founding of the village.
  The village and park district are close to finalizing an agreement that will transfer control of Worth Days to the park district. Village officials agreed that planning of the fest, which begins in February, was too taxing on village staff, and the park district is better equipped to organize the fest.
  The various community organizations that make up the centennial committee each would be responsible for a monthly celebration, Werner said.
  The village will not use taxpayer dollars to fund the celebration. Rather, fundraising, including the sale of banners, will pay for the festivities, the mayor said.
  Meanwhile, approximately 30 people have volunteered to serve on the Chicago Ridge centennial committee. The village celebrates its centennial on Sept. 1.
  “(Planning) takes a lot of time,” Tokar said. “Having 30 people involved is a huge plus.”
  Chicago Ridge will celebrate its centennial with an April 12 dinner dance at the Glendora House and a community festival in September that will that reflects games and recreation popular a century ago, such as an old-time photo booth; watermelon, hot dog and pie-eating contests; horseshoe pitching and children’s games played in early 1900s.
  The village will sponsor a fire hydrant painting contest, the release of a village history book and a community cook book. The celebration also will feature an 8th grade essay contest and open a time capsule buried 25 years ago at the old village hall and bury a new one, Tokar said.