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Gurney centennial brings community together


Ryan Jarvi/Daily Globe

CHASE MATYSZCZYK, 10, of Wales, Wis., boots the ball toward left field during a kickball game held at the Gurney Centennial Celebration on Saturday.

GURNEY, Wis. - The little town of Gurney, Wis., celebrated its 100th birthday on Saturday with a parade, games, food and other activities for all to enjoy at its community park.

Penny Rowe, chair of the Gurney Centennial Committee, said the event caused people to search through their own dusty storage spaces to shed a little light on the 100-year-old town's history.

"This has sparked a really high energy feeling amongst people," Rowe said. "They have just been digging and digging in their attics," for pictures and other historical artifacts, which were put on display during the event.

The town hasn't just been an inspiration for its residents, though. It recently inspired an artist from Madison, Wis., to dust off the cobwebs of her paintbrush after being left untouched for 18 years.

"She came to Gurney about a year ago, and she was so awe-inspired, she said Gurney was magic to her," Rowe said.

The artist's painting of the fall-colored leaves surrounding Highway 169, which cuts through Gurney, was also on display at the event.

Rowe said everybody usually gathers in Saxon for the Fourth of July for the fire department's fundraiser, but plans changed this year.

"This year because of our 100 year celebration they decided to join in with us and help us with everything we knew we needed to have done," Rowe said. "We've been planning for this over a year."

Food and beverages were sold by the Saxon-Gurney Fire Department and both bag raffles and a 50/50 raffle were held, with the proceeds benefitting the fire department and the community club.

There was also a parade with the theme "Gurney – Past, Present and Future."

"There were some who said they thought it was the largest parade they saw from the smallest town," Rowe said.

Following the parade there were a number of games and activities including horseshoes and a frozen t-shirt contest.

StrangeCru, an Ashland band, also performed live music from 6 to 10 p.m.

The centennial was sponsored by the Gurney Centennial Committee, the Gurney Community Club and the Saxon-Gurney Fire Department.

"I think it's brought a lot of people together," Rowe said of the event.

"I am very pleased with the turnout. I think the weather sure helped. It's just amazing how a little town like this can bring people together; neighbors to neighbors."


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