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Lockport plans video and party for 150th birthday

LOCKPORT – Lockport will be observing the 150th anniversary of its incorporation as a city April 11, and the Historic Palace Theatre is hosting the party.

That’s the city’s sesquicentennial, to use the formal name.

“Consider it your typical birthday party,” said Christopher Parada, executive director of the Palace. “There’s going to be cake and ice cream.”

There will be more than that, with music and brief speeches from politicians on the agenda for the free 7 p.m. event, a small commemoration of the passage of a state law April 11, 1865, which promoted Lockport from a village to a city.

“It falls on a Saturday, which is perfect,” Parada said.

Lockport Community Television is producing a special video this week at its studios on Niagara Street, which will feature 150 Lockport residents speaking about the city’s history. It will be shown “on the big screen at the Palace in high definition,” said Richard Zapp, LCTV program director.

He said there will be prepared scripts about historical events, but residents also may simply step before the camera to tell their own stories about Lockport’s past.

The taping sessions, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, are primarily meant for invited guests, but Zapp said that on Tuesday during the same hours, anyone can walk in without an appointment and make a short video.

“There will be some still photos. If somebody is talking about the (Erie) canal, we may show a picture of the canal,” Zapp said.

Besides being shown at the Palace, the tape will be televised on LCTV’s cable channel, Zapp said.

“We’re probably going to find some unique stories,” Parada said. “It’s really a casual thing … Just bring your voice. We can do a picture as we create a video.”

The event in the theater is expected to include performances by the Lockport City Glee Club, the Lockport Community Band and the Step Back in Time Players, a historical re-enactment group.

A Lockport scavenger hunt is to be organized during the afternoon of April 11, Parada added.

The city is planning more than a week of events starting June 27 to mark the birthday further. “During the week, we’re going to have 150 events,” Parada promised.

The sequence will begin with the annual Optimist Club Arts and Crafts Festival, which occurs on Main Street on the last weekend of June every year. The Taste of Lockport, which has been held on the third Sunday in August, is being moved this year to Sunday, July 5, to cap off the sesquicentennial, Parada said.

He added that the Taste will be “refurbished.”

The city will hold its annual Independence Day parade on the evening of July 3, as has become customary, with fireworks set for the night of July 4, which also falls on a Saturday this year.

email: tprohaska@buffnews,com