By Jill Richardson
Kuna Melba News reporter
Melba’s 100 year centennial went off better than any committee or community member had expected. Hundreds of people gathered together on Friday and Saturday to join in the events and shows.
Madge Wylie, town historian, reported people coming from as far as Soldotna, Ala., Atlanta, Ga., Kirkland, Wash., Portland, Ore., Albany, Ore., and Spokane, Wash.
The celebration was kicked off on Friday with mud volleyball, put on by the Jr/Sr high volleyball teams.
With two adult teams formed, five games were played, best three out of five.
Team one made of a motley crew including Kenny and Lisa Hoagland, Jodie Hoagland, Troy Richardson, Holden Fiscus and PJ Tabert were the winners against seasoned vets, Coaches Robyn Richardson, Alisa Van Orden, and Georgette Williams, as well as Mayor Doug Sturges, Riley and Logan Stirm and Dayle Rea.
Those that didn’t care to play in the mud could go to the high school gym for a dance lesson instructed by the Melba Crimsonette Dance Team.
Their instruction excited the kids in learning the dance and keep kids coming back every time they offer their expertise of dance instruction.
At 6 p.m. the high school football teams hosted a Black and Red Scrimmage on the football field.
The feel in the air was that of a regular Friday night game, people filling the stands and watching from the track.
Immediately after the game, about 500 people gathered at City Park to sing happy birthday, eat cake and ice cream and dance to the music of the Bob Miller Band.
Dale Van Schoiack said “There was just enough ice cream left over for a couple milkshakes.”
Canyon County Commissioner, Kathy Alder, presented a proclamation from the Canyon County Board of County Commissioners declaring Aug, 17 and 18, 2012 “Melba Days” in Canyon County.
In the proclamation it acknowledged the founding of the town by Clayton C., Todd, the success of the Melba Community Auction, Olde Tyme Fourth of July Celebration and Melba’s 100 years as a community.
Walking throughout the town as a piece of living history, were Nikki Clemons and Rebecca Jarboe dressed as Melba namesake, Melba Todd and her mother Bessie Todd.
At 7:30 a.m. Saturday, the bustling began again at City Park when signups began for the Mayor Slayer race.
Mayor Doug Sturges competed against 30 adults in the 5K, or 3.1 mile, run or walk and against 13 kids in the one mile run.
The top three runners were Jeff Waters, a repeat winner in Melba races, with a time of 16.20, Chris young and Seth Stears.
To recuperate from the running or just to get a little something to eat, hundreds gathered at the senior center for continental breakfast of cinnamon rolls, juice, coffee or milk.
At the school, items at the quilt and art show competed against and displayed hundreds of crafts by local artists and quilters.
From student artwork to handcrafted wood pieces, there was something for just about any taste.
Winners in the quilt category were Best of Show, Carla Baird with her mother’s quilt, First place, Brenda Johnson with her mother’s quilt, Second place, Jeannie Heiner and Third place, Joanna Christensen.
Winners in the art category were Best of Show, Ryan Olsen, First place, Eugene Lee, Second place, Dan Campbell, Third place, Eva Johnson.
Visitors were invited to come see what the cemetery board has been working on.
They have installed a kiosk with a directory of names linking them to the block and lot of their plot.
Also inside the kiosk, are pictures and stories about the history of Melba and an interactive Kindle Reader that allows visitors to look up a name and have the obituary read aloud to them.
For those that wish to be cremated, a scattering garden has been created so their ashes can be spread in the garden and their name engraved above on a stone above.
Gravesites of Eugene Hays and Melba Todd Hays, as well as her family Clayton C Todd and Bessie B. Todd are in the original area of the cemetery, originally called Riverview Cemetery.
Organized by Steve Pyburn and Jane Zeyer, the Melba Centennial Car Show, In Memory of John Wood, brought in hundreds of cars from new to old.
John Wood was a lifelong member of the Melba community, president of Melba Outlaws Racing Team and well respected in the community.
John’s wife, Sandy, and sons brought his familiar red 1938 Chevy Coupe out for display.
Rob Theil and Jamie Wylie brought their 1968 Pontiac Firebird Convertible for display.
Theil and Wylie were friends with the John Wood, whom passed last year, and this meant a lot to them to be a part of the show.
Winner of Ford class was Mick Mickelson, of Eagle, with his 1940 Ford Woodie.
Winner of Chevy class was Dennis Herod, of Nampa, with his 1957 Chevy Cameo.
And in the Mopar class, Ron Cassidy, of Melba, took the trophy home for his 1956 Plymouth Belvedere.
One way to get out of the sun was to duck into the Melba Grange for the historical museum with slideshow, narrated by Historian Madge Wylie, and hundreds of old time relics, loaned by local residents for display.
People learned about the way it once was, through stories told by Wylie and displays of actual clothes, tools and equipment used during the time of settlement.
A map of the historical walking tour could be picked up and would guide history seekers to locations of historical signs within city limits.
With each sign, visitors would know what existed before over the past 100 years in that location.
Over 500 people were served a hotdog lunch, again at no cost, outside of City Hall.
Shortly after the service of lunch, Melinda Smyser, of US Senator Jim Risch’s office greeted crowds and Mayor Sturges outside City Hall to present the Congressional Record that was brought before the Senate on July 30 honoring Melba’s Centennial.
The record was read by Risch in July in front of the Senate.
Also presented, from US Senator Mike Crapo office, was the same flag that flew over our United States Capital honoring 120 years of Canyon County.
Melba was given the flag to fly over City Hall for the day, in honor of both celebrations.
As the day cooled off, dinner was heating up at the high school.
Pastor Russ Steiner led the community in prayer.
Nearly 600 people lined up for dinner extending all the way through the high school parking lot from the side walk where serving tables were set up.
Rick Johnson, of Melba, while waiting for dinner, said, “I wish they would do it every year. It’s like the good ole days. Melba is a fun place to be. There is a lot of love in this community.”
Jane Zeyer, Centennial Committee member, said of the events, “The best part was just watching others enjoy themselves.”
In Rosie Peck fashion she commented, “Oh my gosh, fabulous. All the planning, worrying and hoping for it not to turn out as big as the fourth of July is done. ”
A variety of entertainment was presented including Jerry Tlucek singing about Melba in a sing along and Dave Mangum.
While folks finished up dinner and visited with the people around them, Mayor Sturges spoke to the community about his appreciation of service from many in it.
He honored past mayors with a plaque.
Sturges also honored Pastor Chris Hinderliter as the Centennial Committee Chair for all of his remarkable service to the community.
Acknowledgement was given to Melba oldest living resident, Lloyd Coleman, at 95 years old.
Founding family member, Gene Hays, unable to attend the celebration, sent a letter and gifts including the original deed issued by the state for the original 40 acres of Melba town site from 1912, then known as Rock Spur, as a train stop.
Hayes also sent a framed original plot map of the city.
Hinderliter presented honors to three of the founding families, Proesch, Reineke, and Zeyer, still thriving today in Melba and contributing to its growth.
Eleven Spirit of Melba award were given out, Melba QRU and Fire Department, Dixie Steen, Donna Hoagland, Russ Steiner, Ron Wright, Beth Cole, Rosie Peck, Madge Wylie, Dale and Doris Van Schoiack, Dan and Lynn Perry, Dave and Pam Mangum and a surprise award went to Noni and Parkie Stapleton.
The day ended with a grand firework display from Ron Wright, launched right from the practice field next to the school, and live music from Big Wow at the street dance held in the parking lot of the high school.
Adults and kids of all ages danced into the darkness and under the streetlamps.
Doris Van Schoiack, Centennial Committee member said, “I outta be able to sleep tonight.”