Fountain ceremony was a big hit
It was a big night in downtown Baldwin City Friday. The community made a happy birthday salute to Baker University complete with ice cream, cake, a rendition of the traditional song and presented gifts.
Along with the birthday festivities, downtown was also the site of the annual Art Walk season finale known as Cuppa Java. There was fun for all and a big crowd took part.
As for the birthday gifts, there was a bonus for Baker. A group of about 46 people donated $500 to the fountain project. The fountain itself cost just under $22,000, said Dave Hill, one of the members of the fountain committee, so that allowed them to sweeten the pot even more.
"We had a really good turnout," said Hill. "A lot of our community was well represented -- Baker, obviously, the Baldwin schools, the city and our business community. Peach Madl was the fountain event chair person and, of course, she did a great job.
"We raised enough money to pay for the fountain, the birthday party and had $1,000 left over, so we donated it to Baker to use for future Baldwin High School students attending Baker," said Hill, who presented the check to Baker President Pat Long. "In short, it was a nice group of people and another nice part of BU's 150th anniversary."
City Administrator Jeff Dingman was also a part of the festivities and thought they went well.
"The ceremony was brief, but I think it was appreciated by everyone that was there," said Dingman. "There really was a good crowd. The ice cream, cake and punch went over well."
Because of the ongoing $1.8 million Downtown Streetscape Project, the fountain isn't finished yet. Crews with Bryant and Bryant Construction are still working on the area in front of the chamber of commerce building. But, the area was spruced up as much as possible for Friday's ceremony and it went well.
"It all went rather well," said Mayor Gary Walbridge, who is also director of the physical plant at Baker. "I was pleasantly surprised by the appearance of the brick plaza area. I think the project is starting to be more acceptable to people from the comments I heard.
"I know that Pat was pleased with the turnout of community people."
Dingman agreed on the project's state for the ceremony.
"I don't think the construction affected it much," said Dingman. "The contractor worked especially hard on that corner Wednesday, Thursday and Friday last week in order to have it in good shape for the ceremony."
The birthday party started at 5:45 p.m. and was over by 6:30 p.m. That's when the attention switched downtown to the Baldwin Community Arts Council's annual Cuppa Java season finale. It featured hand-thrown coffee mugs, coffee, treats, music and plenty of art.
BCAC President Myra Glover thought it all went well.
"Even though it was sweltering hot and humid, the wonderful friends of the Baldwin Community Arts Council turned out and supported Cuppa Java," said Glover. "We had a large turnout who enjoyed the music of Jim and Bailey Hartman, works from a number of area artists and an incredible show of support with homemade baked goods from community members.
"Donations collected will go toward our main fundraising project this year, the Lumberyard Arts Center Project," she said. "There was something for everyone in Baldwin City on Friday night. What a wonderful place to call home."
If that all wasn't enough, there was also the Baldwin High School football team taking on Ottawa at 7 p.m. at Liston Stadium. The Bulldogs capped the big night Friday with a 46-0 victory. (See story, sports section.)