Worth officials partied like it was 1914.
On the eve of marking the 100-day countdown to the village’s 100th birthday, Worth village board members brought back the sensation of the era by dressing in clothing from the 1900’s during a brief 15-minute outdoor meeting Tuesday night at Gale Moore Park in the Worth Historic District.
In lieu of a gavel, Worth Mayor Mary Werner banged the table with her hand and said “We are adjourned, let’s party!” and the close to a hundred people ate hot dogs and ice cream and watched a fireworks show.
Some stuck around for Worth’s edition of the game show “Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?’’ hosted by trustee Colleen McElroy featuring fifth graders from Worth Junior High competing against longtime Worth residents, including Carol Phalm, who has lived in the city for 60 yrs. Although the residents were tough competitors, the fifth graders took the win with a final score of 5-4.
The festivities were rushed because of impending storms and most people cleared the area at 8 p.m. before heavy rains and wind hit the park.
Officials dressed for the occasion.
In the era of Queen Victoria, whose very name is synonymous with conservative manners, fashion was vastly more formal than modern standards. Men donned three-piece suits for nearly every occasion, and women wore dresses that reached down to their shoes. The board members did not disappoint, decked out in long dresses, bonnets, vests and top hats.
“As a financial advisor, I sometimes wear a suit to regular meetings, minus the top hat, of course,” Trustee Tedd Muersch, Jr., joked. Muersch’s family has owns one of Worth’s historic landmark homes directly across from the park that his father purchased at the age of 18.
“What’s ironic is that the family that owned that house before my father had a son who was also on the Worth Village Board,” Muersch said, “Now, fast forward 100 years, and I am the son of my father, also on the Worth Village Board.”
Muersch was elected onto the board at the age of 29 and said he is the youngest board member ever elected.
The board members gathered onto Muersch’s porch after the meeting, to reenact a photograph of the original 1914 board members at the same location. Werner held a photo of the original board members at that site during Tuesday night’s photo shoot.
There was a positive, happy vibe to the night.
“One of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life was to move to the Village of Worth,” City Clerk Bonnie Price told the crowd. Price was elected onto the board in 2001 and said she is happy to be involved with the community. Price, along with the Centennial Committee, was responsible for organizing the 1914-themed event.
“I was really excited about the attire,” Centennial Committee Chairperson Bahira Karim said. “I think it’s a great idea to come out here and see how it was for the village board members back then.”
Karim and her family have lived in Worth for 24 years.
A teacher at District 127 and a Worth library board member, Karim added the village is an excellent place to raise your kids. “Worth is such a diverse community. Not a lot of communities are like that when you live there or are trying to raise a family there. I really like that a lot about this town,” she said.
Some residents also participated in the 1900s-style attire, contributing to the atmosphere of the era. The occasion was catered by Buddy’s Special Events of Deer Park, providing hotdogs, chips, soft drinks and ice cream.
The five-minute fireworks display, which started an hour earlier because of the pending rain, ended with a large, brightly lit 100-year sign in celebration of the centennial event.
This is just the beginning of a long celebration in the coming months.
“The entire village will be included in the celebration of Worth’s Centennial on Aug. 29,” Werner said. She said the village will be having birthday cakes for everyone to enjoy throughout the community, including, schools, park districts, the Worth Public Library and the Worth Village Hall.
“Hopefully, everyone can come out and enjoy a piece of cake with us that day in celebration of Worth’s 100th birthday.” she said.
The Village Hall will also display a countdown calendar on the marquee outside of the building, counting down the days until the big event. The countdown started at 100 days on Wednesday.