Centennial in Langley celebrates women through Mother’s Day weekend

Posted in Feature, Theater and Dance

May 8, 2013

Whidbey women practice a reenactment of a suffragist parade at the fairgrounds in Langley. (Bob Thurmond photo)

Whidbey women practice a reenactment of a suffragist parade at the fairgrounds in Langley. (Bob Thurmond photo)

On Mother’s Day weekend, Langley will celebrate the women who set the stage for democratic equality for American women – past and present.

Langley was incorporated in February 1913 and celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. It has also been 100 years since the suffragettes marched on Washington D.C. on March 3, 1913.

“Our 100th birthday is a good time to honor the Suffragettes, and women and mothers of today, who continue to inspire,” said Janet Ploof, president of Langley Main Street Association, the sponsor of a host of centennial activities in Langley through this year.

In honor of Langley’s Centennial, the city has come together to celebrate with a one-of-a-kind street theater parade to honor those who fought for the woman’s right to vote. On Saturday, May 11, visitors may think they have stepped into a time machine, as the suffragettes march, sing and speak beginning at the U.S. Bank parking lot at 11 a.m. and proceed through downtown Langley to a rally at Whale Bell park near the Dog House Tavern. There will be costumes, banners and authentic songs from a 1909 suffragette songbook and a speech by the fictitious suffragist “Hetty Maxwell,” complete with male hecklers.

The event is the brainchild of Langley historian Bob Waterman who wanted to commemorate the long, hard struggle of suffragists during that period in American history. Such an event reminds modern women that our voting rights would not have been possible without the likes of such forward thinkers as Sojourner Truth, the African American slave who said, “If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again.” Indeed, Sojourner. Women everywhere owe her and other suffragists a debt of gratitude. A karass of modern day women of Whidbey Island have taken on the spirit of gratitude toward their predecessors and have been busy with preparations for the parade. Bring daughters and sons.

After the parade, the focus turns to moms.

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 12 and Ott & Murphy Winery Tasting Room on First Street in Langley invites families to a Mother’s Day Brunch and Tea for two seatings, at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Reserve seats with a call to Ott & Murphy’s at 360-221-7131, as capacity is limited.

The brunch will include a musical offering by a small group from within Whidbey Chamber Singers, the island’s own chamber performance choir. The quartet will feature Al Benson, bass; Ken Stephens, tenor; Christina Parker, alto; and Sheila Weidendorf, soprano and will perform songs and  madrigals, including works by William Paxton, Arthur Sullivan and Pierre Certon.

Moms, don’t forget about shopping in Langley.

Sales and specials will be available all over town through Mother’s Day weekend with an apparel sidewalk sale at Wander on Whidbey, Inn the Country, the Cottage, Big Sister and eight other stores participating with 50 to 70 percent off on many items. Look for other specials at Langley’s spas and restaurants, because everybody has a mom whom they wish to honor and celebrate, including Mother Mentors, a local nonprofit dedicated to support families with young children. Look for Mother Mentors volunteers who will hand out flowers to mothers as a small gesture of appreciation for the hard work that every mother does in the hardest job in the world.

A full schedule of events for the rest of the Centennial year is available online at the website.

For more information, call 360-929-9333; or give them a “like” at Langley Main Street Association on Facebook.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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