The 100th anniversary of the founding of Ceres as a city government is nearing with the biggest celebrations coming up next month and in March.
Ceres was incorporated as a city on Feb. 25, 1918 and a committee comprised of Paul Caruso, Laura Akin, Lee and Sheila Brandt, Angie Smith, Lisa Mantarro Moore, Sharon Caruso, Sheryl Trout, Angela Huerta, Debbie Sewell, Channce Condit and Couper Condit has been planning a celebration, kicking off in February and celebrating into the summertime with a special focus on participating in the Ceres Street Faire and Concerts in the Park series.
The first celebration will be held at the Monday, Feb. 26 Ceres City Council meeting with dignitaries present. The public is invited to attend the event, which will feature a cake and refreshments and possibly displays.
A "Taste of Ceres Gala" dinner will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Friday March 23 at the Ceres Community Center.
"We're calling it a gala but gala might be a strong term," said Committee member Lisa Mantarro Moore. "It will be a dinner with a program highlighting some Ceres history and we plan to involve not only people who have been part of our local history but we're reaching out to the Hispanics, the Assyrians and the East Indian community to participate as well."
The centennial will also be featured during the May 5-6 Street Faire, at the summer Concerts in the Park series and at the Halloween Festival and Christmas Festival in 2018.
Details about the celebrations will be added to the "City of Ceres Centennial Celebration" Facebook page as well as links from other city social media.
The centennial committee will be issuing a commemorative collector coin, shirts, wine glasses, baseball caps and sweatshirts.
The committee is attempting to raise approximately $15,000 to build a Centennial Plaza feature on Fourth Street near the Community Center. Chad Kennedy of O'Dell Engineering voluntarily drew up a design for a feature at the corner of Fourth Street and Magnolia.
Last week the committee mailed out sponsorship appeal letters to businesses and Chamber members. Sponsorships are at different levels, namely $500 for bronze, $750 for silver, $1,000 for gold and $1,500 for platinum.
"Our goal is to be able to fund the Centennial marker downtown and be able to have a nice event where we can recognize people in our Ceres history," said Moore.
The committee will brand the yearlong celebration with the slogan of "Celebrating our Community" and a logo designed by Central Valley High School student Daisy Villafan with "100" incorporated into the design.
City staff won council approval to use the Centennial logo on city letterhead for 2018.
The committee also developed a mission statement: "...to commemorate and celebrate 100 great years of our City. Through planned events, activities and commemorative products, the goal of our committee is to bring our citizens together to celebrate the birthday of the ever-growing community in which we live, work and play.
"By encouraging City of Ceres residents and businesses to participate in this 100th birthday party, we will foster community partnerships and create civic pride. We are not only honoring the past and where our City has come from, but also focusing on the future and where it is going. It's time to say ‘cheers' to the last 100 years of our city and look forward to our next 100!"
The centennial will mark the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of the city of Ceres although Ceres itself traces its founding back to 1869. The first recorded map of the town of Ceres was filed Feb. 20, 1875. Ceres was incorporated as a city on March 4, 1918 and serving as the first mayor was S.W. Cartwright who served only a month and nine days until the first city election was held on April 8, 1918. Vaughn D. Whitmore beat out Cartwright by a single vote to become Ceres' first elected mayor with 28 votes. Besides Whitmore and Cartwright, elected to the first City Council were C.T. Haynes, J.U. Gartin and C.H. Sikes.
Sponsorships are payable to the Ceres Community Foundation (for tax deductions), and may be directed to the Ceres Centennial Celebration, c/o City of Ceres, 2720 Second Street, Ceres CA 95307. To pay by phone or for more information, call 409-2676 or email firstname.lastname@example.org