The Garden City Telegram

Historical Society banquet an annual tradition locally

Historical Society banquet an annual tradition locally

Tradition is an important component of history, and the Finney County Historical Society will soon be carrying on a long-standing tradition that involves strong links to the past and the future of our community.

Since our founding in 1948, we have been conducting an annual meeting nearly every year, and we have also been honoring Finney County pioneer families at that annual gathering each year since 1974.

Our 2014 annual meeting and banquet have been scheduled for 7 p.m. April 26 at the Garden City Church of the Nazarene, 2720 N. Campus Drive, and anyone who would like to share in the festivities is welcome. The agenda includes election of new and returning board members, a director's report and our fifth annual fundraising silent auction. However, the evening's highlight will be the Finney County Pioneer Awards. Those being recognized include:

* The Villa and Mildred Jennings family

* The Ascencion and Isabel Mora family.

A committee of the FCHS Board of Directors made the selections, based on criteria such as long-standing presence in Finney County and significant contributions to the community. The Mora and Jennings families, with many members still active in the life of Garden City, have been part of the community for a combined total of 182 years.

They will join a list of 118 past recipients that ranges from Frederick Finnup, Ignacio Valenzuela, Bob and Kay Wells, Al and Pearl Regan, D.C. and Irene Garcia, Ellsworth and Matha Sherman, Tony and Maxine Jewell and the A.H. Burtis family to Cliff and Pat Mayo, the Wesley and Betty Sterling family, the Earl C. and Denelda Brookover family and many others.

New this year is a small display that we'll be placing in our main exhibit gallery to commemorate the latest Pioneer Award families throughout the coming year.

Banquet admission for historical society members or the public is $18 per person, and reservations are necessary by Thursday. Information is available by calling the Finney County Museum 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at 272-3664, or visiting our reception desk 1 to 5 p.m. any day of the week or weekend.

Those who attend will receive printed annual reports highlighting the society's accomplishments for the past year, and FCHS members may participate in the board election.

Everyone at the banquet is welcome to compete in the silent auction, which will include gift baskets, artwork and other donated items. Last year's baskets included restaurant certificates, movie admission, cosmetic products, coffees and Kansas wines, a beef certificate with barbecue paraphernalia, gardening items, golf reservations and equipment, handcrafts and additional goods and services.

While the auction is now an established tradition at the banquet, we have added something new this year by involving two local sponsors to help underwrite expenses. Our sponsors, to whom we owe a debt of gratitude, are Fry Eye Associatesand Homestead Assisted Living.

It was the last day of January in 1948 - Kansas Day - that the FCHS was formed, during a meeting of 14 people at the Finney County Courthouse. Since that time, our membership has grown to encompass hundreds of individuals, families and businesses.

During the same 66 years, the society has established the Finney County Historical Museum, where we host an average of more than 50 visitors daily; assembled the Leola Howard Blanchard Research Library, which answers thousands of questions annually; and set up a growing education outreach program, which served over 7,000 adults and children in 2013. The FCHS has also opened our in-house Museum Store, which conducts nearly 100 transactions each month; published a series of books, including two volumes of Finney County history; and collected over 17,000 artifacts, photographs and records, including 476 in 2013 alone.

In fact, this summer will mark the 20th anniversary of our expanded museum, where we are continuing to offer enhanced experiences for people interested in the heritage of Garden City, Holcomb, Finney County and southwest Kansas.

Along with the banquet, these are all important traditions, too, and they are also key elements in our mission of preserving the past to enlighten the future. We hope you can join us April 26, as we continue celebrating all of the old and new traditions that comprise the history of Finney County.