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Shrewsbury Centennial Could See Return of Christmas Ball

Street banners will celebrate residents and businesses that sponsor the festivities.

Next year marks the centennial anniversary for the city of Shrewsbury and planning has begun for commemorative events throughout 2013.

A list of these events was presented to the Shrewsbury Board of Aldermen at a work session Tuesday night along with the kinds of sponsorships organizers hope will pay for the celebrations. Proposals range from a kick-off evening in January that will display artifacts, maps and other historical materials, to enhancing existing summer festivals with additional music and vendors, such as St. Louis’ growing fleet of food trucks.

However, Greg Lauter and Greg Meyer, members of a centennial committee formed by the city, asked that board members help fund their efforts with a small injection from the city’s coffers.

In particular, Meyer said they would like to end the year by bringing back a version of a Christmas Ball held by Shrewsbury that has been cut in recent years due to budget constraints. Guests for the evening would include the centennial celebration’s business sponsors and volunteers, along with city employees and their spouses.

Not including the ball, Meyer and Lauter estimated that the rest of the activities would cost $13,500, a total which the pair believed could be met by the committee’s fundraising. They asked the board to consider giving them $5,000 now and a pledge of possible future support so the centennial’s send-off event could be guaranteed.  

"We will raise as much funds as we can, but ... we don't think we can raise enough money to bring [the Christmas Ball] to the level it should be,” Meyer said. “So if you guys could put in some padding in there it would help us.”

Board members expressed support for the proposal and Mayor Felicity Buckley said the city’s staff would work on drafting an ordinance so formal action could be taken at a future meeting.

“We haven’t had [a Christmas Ball] in a number of years, but a centennial only comes around every 100 years,” Buckley said. “It would also be an opportunity to thank our business sponsors and invite them to that kind of finale."

Businesses and Residents Targeted for Sponsorship

Lauter and Meyer said various levels of sponsorship would be available to Shrewsbury businesses and residents ranging from $250 to $2,500.

The main draw for business owners will be advertising opportunities. According to Lauter, Sponsors will have their names printed on banners marking the celebration of the city’s centennial that will be hung from light poles on high-traffic streets, as well as the parking lot of the Shrewsbury City Center. The number of banners will depend on the business’ level of sponsorship ($500, $1,200 or $2,500).

Residents can become sponsors for $250 and will also receive a banner, in this case bearing their family name. They will also receive a special historical calendar put together by the committee, a commemorative t-shirt and have their name etched on the brick paving at the Shrewsbury City Center.

More details about the centennial celebration will be released as 2013 draws closer and the committee is planning to launch an informational website.

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