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40 Years Ago Today, Big Doings - Inauguration Day - in Columbia

When Columbia, Adair County, KY was the focus of attention - some of it not so respectful as they ought to have been. Jealous, one would guess. The Columbia/Adair County Inauguration Day, happened of a Tuesday, many survivors recall, Tuesday, January 10, 1978. More than a few have memories of the day. Some think there hasn't been anything like it since.
Click on headline for complete compilation by JIM.


The Adair County News dated 40 years ago today - January 10, 1978 - devoted most of the front page to an article by Mike Murrell and related photos by Jerry Compton of the wildly successful inauguration celebration held in Columbia over the weekend. The paper estimated some 6,500 to 7,000 people came to view the record-breaking parade, greatly lengthened by the "tractor-cade" of farm vehicles within the parade proper; to partake of the contents of "The World's Largest Chili Bowl," cooked up by "Master Chef Carl Harris and several assistants" over the period of a full week; and, of course, to meet the newly inaugurated city and county officials, perhaps most notably Mayor Coy Downey and County Judge James Brock. Wayne Perkey of WHAS 840 radio fame led the parade as grand marshal, and Rev. Doug Moseley acted as master of ceremony for the day's activities.

The event was enough to draw news reporters from the Herald Leader, Courier Journal, and Central Kentucky News Leader as well as WHAS 11, WBKO 13, and WAVE 3 television stations, and to elicit the promise from Paul Harvey's staff he would cover the "Chili Bowl" on his Monday broadcast.

(In the little space left at the bottom of page one, about half was used the sad tale of the too little, too late second half comeback rally by the Indians quintet, who fell victim to the Eagles of Campbellsville on Saturday night 67-59. The remainder of the page left just enough room for a letter from an "Interested individual" addressed to the brand new mayor about "Beautification of [the] Public Square." This unidentified person suggested the city of Columbia buy the parcel of land upon which the old -- and recently burned out -- Hotel Miller had held forth for over three-quarters of a century and convert it to a park-like atmosphere, complete with dogwood or shade trees and seats for two important segments of the population, "senior citizens and whittlers.")

On the editorial / op-ed page, Ed Waggener, in his "Around Adair" column, which ran just short of six full columns in this edition, waxed a bit philosophical about the inauguration goings-on documented on page one:

"There's gotta be a Protective Spirit looking over Adair County.

"Else how can you explain the Perfect Weather for the Perfect Inauguration Celebration which Adair County enjoyed on Saturday.

"During the Parade the downtown thermometer was showing a balmy 63. And Sunday afternoon it started sleeting, then freezing, then snowing.

But not Saturday, not Inauguration Day. The Weather was as if requested."

Ed then mentioned dozens of "glimpses" of the big occasion, among them the reception, held in the Merkley Center on the campus of Lindsey Wilson and elegantly prepared by Mary Allender and Sue Stivers; "Nancy Berley, royally dressed in a super-smart burgundy crushed velvet pants suit;" Ed "going home seeing my oldest son, Pen, dressed in the same attire [a "World's Largest Chili Bowl" t-shirt] and of the two-year-old son, Tom, demanding a chili shirt...and of giving him one at 9:00 a.m. as a way of pacifying him until 'p'rade' time". . .; and of ". . .feeling no hostilities toward the doubters who had said it would never happen; the Old Guard who fought it; of remembering that it doesn't matter who's against a project--just who's for it; of thinking that finally a New Capable Minority was forging the New Day. . ."

This story was posted on 2018-01-10 06:18:20
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