Do you like a good parade, games, purchasing crafts, auctions, good music and delicious food? If so, you will enjoy celebrating the 30th anniversary of Sherman Days, August 1 - 3. Note that this year's event will last 3 days. It gets better and better every year and the attendance keeps growing.
Although it has been only 30 years since Sherman Day first took place under that name, the first celebration of Sherman folk gathering together for a picnic or other similar activities has taken place for more than a century. I'm not exactly sure when that first celebration occurred but I wouldn't be surprised if it happened even in the early days shortly after the settlers began to move to the area and start cutting trees and building rough homes.
The first gathering of the current celebration was establish by the Stanley Hose Auxiliary in 1983. The ladies wanted to bring residents and former Shermanites together in a great small-town celebration. Two years later they turned it over to the Sherman Day Committee. The original group consisted of Pam Fisher, Debbie Wasylink, and Sherry Gulczynaski and they served for ten years. Others joined over the years, some of which replaced others that had moved away or wanted others to assume the task after having served many ears.
Getting prepared for Sherman Day is a huge task and it takes many to accomplish it. It is an expensive project. The committee has to start planning for the following year soon after the current year event is over. As for funds for the many activities that take place, the funds are obtained by donations, auction proceeds and Sherman spring yard sale.
The first annual firemen's parade and inspection recorded was held on Sept. 1, 1891. Activities that day included a hook and ladder firemen's run from the engine house to the tank on the corner of Main and Church Street. It took the men one minute to run this distance and put a ladder in place on the building. It took them just over two minutes to lay 300 feet of hose and to send water streaming over the top of the buildings. Wow
The following year Sept. 9 was Firemen's Day and it was a real celebration. It began with a salute at 6 a.m. to awaken any folk still sleeping. Soon thereafter, people began to arrive until the streets resembled circus day or the 4th of July.
Henry Hooker led the parade on horseback, the village officers following Drum Major E.C. Green, spectacular in his white bearskin hat and baton, led the 14-piece coronet band.
Bicycle and foot races were held on Main Street. The Sherman ball players displayed their talent in a game against the Creek boys. The umpire called a "no game" after the latter's pitcher sprained his leg and their tam refused to continue.
The evening brought a concert on Main Street, fireworks and a dance at the Opera Opera House. Some 40 couples attended the dance.
The first Sherman Town Picnic was recorded in Mr. Taggart's scrapbook. No date was mentioned but according to some of the names it probably happened in the early 1900's. According to the account, "it was an ideal day and was greatly enjoyed by the immense company which gathered at the Grove. The program was carried out as arranged and published last week."
The Westfield band in their neat uniforms, blue trimmed in black, played several selections and then led the procession in Wilson's grove. There were folk on foot, bicycles and in carriages. The number present was estimated at 1,200 to 2,500. Five teams were hitched in the grove. Dinner was served in the tent to the band while others ate from their well-filled picnic baskets.
A former Sherman boy in the agricultural business at Cornell University, spoke first. Other speakers gave their impressions about Sherman. They included the Rev. G.E. VanWie, A.A VanDusen, the Rev. T.J. Wheeler, Willard W. Whitemore, the Rev. R.R. Hadley and Professor Travis of Sherman High School Exercises closed with everyone singing "America."
The account concluded with "The whole affair was a great success and it is intended to have a picnic each year at which former residents may return and renew the acquaintances of the past and see the improvements that Sherman is making."
A newspaper account in 1907 stated, "It has been decided the town picnic will be omitted because there is quite a demand for public enterprises and help is very scarce." However other town picnics were held over the years. The Stanley Hose Gala Days began in the 1940's. I remember taking our children to those. A 1948 account stated that 2,500 were at that carnival held at Sheldon Park on Friday evening. Rides and concession stands were brought in by the firemen. They lasted several days and a clean-up day was necessary following the celebration. I also remember one time, years back, my older sister won a prize for paring an apple the fastest of all other contestants.
Thus the small village of Sherman has had many special celebrations Area residents of its township and village look forward to them and also former students and others from surrounding areas. It's sure to be a fun time once again for all on Saturday.