North Dakotans packed a jubilant Dakota Fieldhouse on this date in 1988. The citizens’ homage was an observance of the state’s 99th birthday and prelude for the upcoming year’s calendar of celebrations and events across the state.
The centennial fete was replete with politicians and patriotic citizens of all stripes. Standing before a gigantic American Flag, and joined by their wives, were former governors Arthur Link, William Guy, and Allen Olson, along with current Governor George Sinner.
The Fargo Forum wrote that 103-year-old Carl Paulson was in attendance in his wheelchair, representing Dakota Territory days.
99 other citizens, each representing both their birth year and corresponding year in history, filled the stage. The assembled crowd of boys and women, girls and men, were rewarded with a standing ovation from the enthusiastic crowd.
Fargoan and popular media star Boyd Christenson served as the master of ceremonies. Christenson was flanked by Fargo/Moorhead news anchormen Marv Bossart, Charley Johnson, and Doug Hamilton. The trio representing the three television stations sat at replica news desks recounting highlights from the state’s past.
A centennial performer and Theodore Roosevelt portrayer, appeared on stage in various costumes bringing word-for-word TR remembrances of his time in Dakota Territory and beyond.
The North Dakota Centennial High School Marching Band performed for the crowd and would later travel the state and even appear in the Tournament of Roses Parade in California.
Other Centennial music was beautifully sung by the West Fargo High School Choir, officially designated as the Governor’s Centennial Choir.
Many of the centennial participants are no longer with us. Many more have made their own life and contributions since. The land and its people live on.
Written by Steve Stark
Source: Fargo Forum Newspaper Thursday Nov 3, 1988