The sounds of a horse drawn wagon, kazoos, shoot outs, newsboys and ragtime music could be heard along the streets of Old Town Galt Saturday, as thousands attended the Galt Sesquicentennial Celebration.
Hundreds of celebration guests joined event volunteers and donned period costumes, some in hopes of winning a costume contest, and others just to have a little fun.
The once in a lifetime event hosted by the Galt District Chamber of Commerce was nearly a year in the making.
After finding out from the Galt Area Historical Society last December that 2019 marked the Galt area’s sesquicentennial, Vice Mayor Shawn Farmer, Heather Farmer, Gale Webber and Galt District Chamber of Commerce President Bonnie Rodriguez embarked on a months-long quest to bring a free family event to Galt residents.
Many other volunteers joined the four to help in the planning process and, of course, dozens stepped up to help run the event.
“When we formed our event committee so many months ago to start brainstorming for the Galt Sesquicentennial Celebration, we wanted it to be something special and different then anything Galt had ever really had before,” Farmer said. “But our vision for the event would not be easy, and would take a lot of work and imagination. We wanted people who came to get a feel for what Galt would have been like 100 years ago. We worked hard to try to create that experience, and I think we accomplished our goal. I was very pleased on how the celebration went and how many of our Galt citizens came out with their families to enjoy it.”
Rodriguez was happy with the support from the community.
“The outpouring of support from local residents, businesses and organizations is truly a testament to all that’s good in Galt,” Rodriguez said. “Dozens of volunteers stepped up to help plan, organize and execute this event. Without their help, this event would not have been as great as it was.”
Farmer agreed with Rodriguez.
“I am so happy to have been surrounded by so many hard working people and volunteers who made this event a reality,” Farmer said. “And, if it had not been for all the generous contributions and sponsors, this event would have never been possible. Our small town really came through for us and I thank them for that. But there were so many moving parts and people who helped in some way or another, it is impossible to thank every single person by name, but they know who they are, and I and the community owe all of them a huge debt of gratitude.”
But Rodriguez attributes the overwhelming success of the event to the Farmer family.
“This event would not have been as great as it was without the leadership of Shawn Farmer,” Rodriguez said. “The hours and hours of time he and his family dedicated to this celebration are beyond my understanding. The Farmer family deserves all praise and gratitude for their hard work and dedication.”
Months of planning and fundraising culminated in a six-hour event, featuring various music entertainers, horse drawn wagon rides, tractor drawn hay rides, miniature steam engine train rides, ‘medicine man’ show, doll making, face painting and much, much more.
“Our entertainers and attractions did a fabulous job,” Farmer said. “I had several people come up to me and thank us for putting on something so special and told me that it was like nothing they had experienced in Galt before. Those kind words are what I will always remember from that day and cherish. It was nice to provide the people of Galt with an ‘escape’, even for just one day, from the negative things going on in our city right now.”
During a special ceremony, Vice Mayor Farmer gave a brief history of Galt and unveiled a railroad historic marker, donated by the chamber along with Farmer. The marker, shaped as the front of a steam engine, will be permanently placed at the southwest corner of C and Fourth streets, marking the location of the railroad station originally located in that area.
Local and state dignitaries honored Galt with proclamations, congratulating Galt on this landmark event. Joining in the celebration were Seth Doulton from the California State Treasurer’s Office, U.S. Congressman Jerry McNerney, State Senator Cathleen Galgiani, Sacramento County Supervisors Don Nottoli and Sue Frost, Mayor Paige Lampson, Councilmen Paul Sandhu, Curt Campion and Rich Lozano, Galt Joint Union Elementary School District Superintendent Karen Schauer and board members Grace Malson and Thomas Silva, Galt Joint Union High School District Superintendent William Spalding and board members Terry Parker-Owning, Dennis Richardson and Melissa Neuburger.
Inside the Estrellita Ballroom, generously donated for the event by John Henke, a model train railroad was on display. Coinciding with the model trains, Galt resident Susan Lethbridge wrote, produced and directed a short melodrama about the history of Galt.
After the play, milk and cookies were passed out to the audience, courtesy of Spaans Cookies and the Galt Joint Union Elementary School District.
Various fundraisers took place to help fund the free event. Over 170 street banners were sold commemorating 150 years, and T-shirts, challenge coins, pins, garden flags, hats and tumblers sporting the sesquicentennial theme were sold prior to and during the event.
“Again, we are so happy with the support from the community,” Rodriguez said. “Most of the sesquicentennial merchandise was snatched up by local residents, and orders came in from other states. We do have a few T-shirts left, as well as pins and challenge coins.”
Anyone wishing to purchase sesquicentennial memorabilia can visit the chamber office, 604 N. Lincoln Way in The Galt Herald building.