PRINCETON — Three Bureau County communities are helping the community of Earlville celebrate its 150th birthday by opening their streets to Pony Express riders.
On Thursday morning, Earlville will begin a Pony Express re-enactment at 10 a.m. in front of the Princeton Post Office, as part of Earlville’s birthday celebration which begins Thursday and runs through Sunday. Princeton Mayor Keith Cain will be on hand Thursday morning to greet the eight Pony Express riders before they head out for Earlville.
Princeton is happy to be part of the Pony Express kick-off to Earlville’s birthday celebration, Cain said. Area residents are welcomed to attend the Pony Express ceremony, which is expected to last about 15 minutes.
As part of the brief ceremony, Princeton Post Master Shannon Mattingly will give the Pony Express riders a symbolic mail bag for them to take on their journey. Thursday’s ceremony should be a great way for people to enjoy learning about history and seeing first hand how mail was delivered more than 100 years ago, she said.
On Friday, Princeton Tourism/Marketing Director Joni Hunt said she hopes for a good turnout for this week’s Pony Express ceremony in Princeton. Hopefully, families with children will come out to learn about history and see how labor intensive it was in the Pony Express Days to get mail delivered. By starting in Princeton, the city wants to help wants Earlville have the best possible 150th anniversary celebration, she said.
From Princeton, the Pony Express riders will travel to Dover, where they will have their first stop, at approximately 11:45 a.m., at the Dover Post Office. The riders will meet and greet people in that community and freshen up their horses before departing at noon.
The riders’ next scheduled stop will be at 1:30 p.m. at the LaMoille Post Office, where they are expected to be greeted by Mayor Steve Stouffer and local citizens. The riders will depart LaMoille at 1:45 p.m. and head for Mendota, where they are expected to arrive at 3:15 p.m.
On the final leg of their journey, the Pony Express riders plan to arrive at 6 p.m. in Earlville where they will take part in the community’s opening ceremonies for its 150th birthday festivities.
As the riders ride into Earlville, they will have bandanas with the 150th logo stamped on them to distribute, free of charge, to children, while supplies last. Also, there will be special post cards available to purchase for $1, which includes postage. The post cards will be stamped at that time with a special Pony Express stamp and then an official U.S. Post Office cancellation stamp with the 150th logo on it.
Bureau County residents are invited to come out for the Pony Express riders along their route and also invited to join the Earlville community as it celebrates its 150th birthday.
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