Fireworks and fun activities are ahead at the Oakdale Antelope Days this weekend.
On Friday, Aug. 17, a free outside movie on Main Street will kick off the events for Family Night. The movie will begin at dark and a concession stand will be available. Attendees are asked to bring lawn chairs or blankets. A colorful fireworks show will follow the movie.
Saturday boasts a full list of activities for the whole family, beginning with a poker run.
The poker run will begin with registration from 9 to 10 a.m. at the Oakdale Community Center. All vehicles are welcome to participate. The cost is $20 per hand and all proceeds go to the Oakdale Fire Department.
At 1 p.m., the space walk, kids games and jail and bail begin. The kids tractor pull, car show and horseshoe tournament will begin at 2 p.m., followed by the cornhole tournament at 3 p.m. A cake walk and freewill BBQ will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. A scavenger hunt is planned from 7 to 9 p.m. Oakdale's Antelope Days will conclude with a street dance from 9 p.m. to midnight with music by Nita and the Pipe Smokin' Charlies. A beer garden will be available from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the community center.
A medical fund has been set up for an Oakdale man who sustained a traumatic brain injury last weekend.
Matt Wright is currently in a medically-induced coma after he fell out of the back of a pickup on Saturday, July 7, according to his GoFundMe page.
Wright is being treated at the University of Nebraska Medical Center – Neurological ICU at Clarkson Tower. A team of neurologists, nurses and respiratory therapists are caring for him "around the clock," the page states.
"Their current and primary focus is preventing secondary damage to his brain, by keeping his cranial pressures down. Brain injuries are complex and unpredictable, therefore; we will not know the full scope of his injuries for some time," the site administrator wrote. "What we are asking, first and foremost, is for prayers for a quick and complete recovery for Matt. And prayers for strength and love for his family, in this difficult time."
Friends and family have set up donation opportunities to help with the expenses.
"Any of you who know Matt and Donnelle, know how extremely hard they work for their children," the page states. "They both work full time plus, to support their family. And any of you who know Donnelle, also know, how incredibly much she loves Matt, and that there is absolutely no way she is leaving his side, any time soon. Another truth we all know, is those bills don't care about any of this. Those bills are just going to keep right on coming, and their kids are still going to need to be supported. Any little bit helps, and will be greatly appreciated! Every dollar counts!"
Donations can also be made at the Tilden Bank. Please make checks payable to Donnelle Weed.
Other non-monetary ideas include (but are not limited to):
*Diapers, size 5
*Non-perishable foods--cereals would top that list
*Help with their yard care
*Basic school supplies (school kids range from pre-school to freshman)
In addition, there will be a dinner drive organized for when they return home.
The 71st annual Kinnan Reunion will be held this weekend, beginning Friday, at 5 p.m. at the home of Karen Berg in Oakdale.
Family members are asked to provide side dishes, condiments or both for Friday evening's meal.
Saturday will kick off with the annual golf tournament, beginning at 8 a.m. at the Antelope Country Club. Saturday's picnic will begin at 1 p.m., with swimming to follow.
The weekend will end with Sunday church services at the Methodist church with brunch to follow.
The Rowdy Bunch 4-H Group, along with the Oakdale Volunteer Fire Department, will be hosting a pancake feed on Saturday.
The free will donation pancake feed will be held from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Oakdale Community Center. All proceeds will go the fire department and 4-H group.
A bake sale fundraiser will also be going on during the pancake feed. The proceeds from the bake sale will go to the 4-H group to help with projects around the community.
The school bell rang for the final time as 41 alumni and guests gathered for the annual banquet, Saturday, May 26, at the Oakdale Community Center. The hall was decorated using the theme, “Cowboys and Indians.”
President Bev Alderson gave the welcome and the invocation was given by Pastor Paul Dittmer. The dinner was prepared by alumna Jerry Beach and her assistants Bonnie Lindgren, Cherrie Kinnan and Becky Springer.
The speaker for the evening was Pastor Paul Dittmer of the Oakdale Church of Christ. He gave an interesting history lesson entitled, “The Creation and Uneventful History of the Elkhorn Guards and The Forgotten Brigadier General Who Lived in Oakdale for Awhile.” This was in memory of Jeptha Hopkin’s Horse.
The business meeting was held. Bev Alderson read the roll of classes and Cherrie Kinnan represented the 50th graduation year. Due to declining attendance and the lack of volunteers to host another banquet, the alumni cast ballots to discontinue the annual banquet. The president thanked everyone who has helped in any way over the years, planning and preparing our banquets. Retiring officers were: president - Bev Alderson; secretary - Geraldine Marks and treasurer - Gene Kinnan.
The benediction was given by Pastor Dittmer. The Alumni Song, led by Lorine Fields, was sung for the final time.
An unattended stove is being blamed for a residential fire late Thursday in Oakdale, which led to significant kitchen damage in a trailer house on the south side of town.
According to the Oakdale Fire Department, they received a call at 11:24 p.m. of a kitchen fire at 605 Walther St.
Fire Chief Art Griffith said the Nebraska State Fire Marshal's office investigated and confirmed that the fire began at the stove where a pan with oil was left unattended. Griffith said an occupant returned to the kitchen to find it filled with smoke and could see some flames.
The fire was extinguished by the time firefighters arrived; however, firefighters used a thermal heat gun to later discover hotspots in the walls of the structure. The Neligh Volunteer Fire Department brought its cascade unit for airpack bottles and lent Oakdale it's thermal detector. Oakdale will have its own thermal detector soon thanks to a donation from Transcanada, which firefighters said will greatly improve and speed up the accuracy of searching for hot spots.
The Antelope County Sheriff's Department, NPPD and Source Gas also responded to the structure fire. The scene was cleared at 2:30 a.m. Friday.
It was a night of history and storytelling at the Oakdale Cemetery for the inaugural Fireside Chat on Saturday night.
More than 70 people gathered at the pavilion at the cemetery to hear stories of the early settlers of the area who are buried in the Oakdale cemetery.
Cemetery Auxiliary member Sharron Kinnan said the inspiration for the event came from a previous president of the auxiliary, Lois Johnson.
“One of our local historians, Lois Johnson, was president of the Cemetery Auxiliary, and she had always talked about doing something like this at the cemetery,” Kinnan said.
After she passed away in October of 2015, Kinnan said that they wanted to dedicate this night in her honor.
“We didn’t get it done while she was alive, so we are dedicating this program to her,” she said.
DeAnna Martensen, Barb Roland and Karen Berg, also of the cemetery auxiliary, were also key in organizing the event.
Spanning 26 acres, the Oakdale Cemetery is the sight of over 2000 graves, including 199 veterans. For this event, Kinnan said they wanted to focus on the early settlers.
A.J. Leach, the founder of the Oakdale Cemetery and one of the first settlers of Antelope County, was one of the main historical figures featured throughout the program. Paul Dittmer, who was tasked with playing the role of Leach for the night, told the story of Leach’s life and how he settled in Antelope County.
Born in 1834, Leach spent most of his early life in Ohio and Michigan. His first experience in Nebraska came when he and his cousin passed through on their way to Oregon.
“When he was 17, he and his cousin got ‘Oregon Fever,’ so they went to Oregon. They walked from Michigan to Illinois, then got on a steamboat and got off at St. Joseph, Missouri. They walked the Iowa side of the river up to Omaha, where they crossed the river and headed on to Oregon,” Dittmer said.
Along the trip, Leach and his cousin were driving an ox team in exchange for food along the way. Dittmer said that not only did they have to travel that long of distance, they had to travel it on foot.
“To drive an ox team, you have to walk along beside them. He walked over 2,000 miles. That is just amazing,” said Dittmer, who loves history and spent a great deal of time researching the role.
After arriving in Oregon, Leach found a job as a school teacher and went to college, studying Greek, Latin and Mathematics. After finishing with college, Leach returned to Michigan where he was married.
Dittmer said that upon looking back at his journey, Leach saw potential in Antelope County.
“He noted that the best farmland that he saw on the whole trip was in western Iowa and eastern Nebraska. Of all the places he had been and all the places he saw, Antelope County was the one he chose,” Dittmer said.
Leach returned to the area and found land, which he filed as his under the Homestead Act. After moving to the county, Leach held multiple notable positions, including county treasurer and county surveyor. He was the first person in the county to pay property tax, and Receipt #1 can be found at the Antelope County Museum. He also served as the first superintendent for the school, and School District #1 was built on his land.
However, Dittmer said that Leach’s proudest achievement came in his later years — founding the Oakdale Cemetery.
Dittmer said one of his biggest fears is that he won’t do justice to Leach’s memory.
“He was a remarkable man, and my biggest fear is that I won’t do his life justice. I don’t think I can tell everything he did. He did a lot of remarkable stuff,” Dittmer said.
Leach valued history, and thought it was important for future generations to know, enough so that he wrote a book, “The History of Antelope County.” Dittmer said that preserving the history of the area was something that Leach valued more than anything.
Leach was one of several historians portrayed during Saturday’s event, which also featured the reading the name of every veteran buried at the cemetery. After the event, the public was invited to visit the pioneers’ gravesites, which were marked by lanterns.
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