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Rendezvous in Morrill
July 15, 2016 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis

File photo This antique fire truck belonging to the Morrill Volunteer Fire Department will be part of Saturday’s parade during Horse Creek Rendezvous Day in downtown Morrill.

Morrill, Nebraska, a short drive west of Scottsbluff, is the place to be this Saturday, July 16, as the town celebrates Horse Creek Rendezvous Day.

Pete Cawiezel, who is serving as Grand Marshal this year, said the event has been a mid-summer staple in the community for the past 25 or 26 years. Scheduled on the third Saturday of July, it started out as Morrill Appreciation Day before a name change to Horse Creek Rendezvous Day several years ago.

“It’s also our alumni weekend and many of our graduates return to meet up with friends and classmates,” Cawiezel said.

Events start early Saturday with a 5K run/walk and 1-mile fun run for the kids. Registration is at 7 a.m. at the park with the start scheduled for 7:30 a.m. Prizes will be awarded in all categories.

Breakfast will be available for sale at the picnic shelter in the park from 7-9 a.m., featuring homemade cinnamon rolls, biscuits and gravy, juice and coffee.

Rodders and Friends, local automotive enthusiasts, will have examples of some of Detroit’s finest on display throughout the day with a car show in the park.

Also that morning, the Morrill Booster Club hosts a three-on-three youth basketball tournament at Fomo Park, on the old high school football field.

Kids can take advantage of a bounce house, and participate in a unique tournament of “human foosball.”

At 9:30 a.m., kids gather for a bike parade which starts at 10 a.m. Unique bike designs are welcome. According to event organizer Kim Lessert there have been some really cute and extravagant bike floats in the past. The parade starts at the Morrill library and ends in the park.

At 11 a.m. the Rendezvous Parade, led by Cawiezel, begins at the high school and heads south to the city park. Unlike the Oregon Trail Days celebration, parade participants will be allowed to throw candy to watchers.

“The local fire departments bring some of their equipment out to be in the parade,” Cawiezel said. “Alumni groups usually have floats, along with floats from the school and local businesses.”

Another stop to take in during the day is the first farmers’ market of the summer, set up from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. just east of Fomo Park on the highway coming into town. Local producers will feature the fruits of their labor.

At about noon, staff from Ft. Laramie will perform a reenactment of the signing of the Horse Creek Treaty. The agreement was signed in the summer of 1851 by representatives from the government and 21 different Indian tribes. Called the “Great Smoke” by the natives, it hammered out an agreement which established the right of whites to use the western trails and fixed an agreement of loosely defined ‘borders’ between the Native American nations.

“The Indians camped from Ft. Laramie all the way to just west of Morrill,” Cawiezel said. “With this celebration, we want to keep our history alive as much as possible.”

As the community remembers its history, visitors are invited to lace up their sneakers and step back in time for a self-guided tour of some of Morrill’s historic buildings and residences.
Flyers on the route can be picked up at the alumni table in the park during the day.

The public library and museum (in the basement) will open its doors to the public from 1-3 p.m. Some local authors, yet to be determined, will be signing their books. It’s also a free day at the city pool for anyone who wants to cool off during a hot summer day.

At noon, the Morrill American Legion Auxiliary will host a hamburger fry in the park, with proceeds going to the Auxiliary’s various community service activities.

The Morrill Police Department hosts a bike rodeo for the kids in the northeast corner of the park at 1 p.m., when kids can register their bikes.

Live music is featured during the afternoon in the park, including the Green Valley Homesteaders at 3 p.m., followed by the Torrington Fiddlers at 5 p.m., when a free barbecue, hosted by the Morrill merchants, takes place. Free donations are always accepted.

The busy day’s activities wrap up with a street dance downtown when Southern Fryd takes the stage from 8 to 11 p.m.

“We have this event every summer to bring the community, friends and family together,” Cawiezel said. Our graduates also like to reconnect with the people they grew up with. It’s just good fun for the whole family. We invite you to bring a lawn chair, relax and socialize.”
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