Fourth of July celebrations, flea market coming up


Horseshoe tourney, municipal band concert all part of festivities.

Horseshoe tourney, municipal band concert all part of festivities.


The Fourth of July will not only include fireworks, but also music and horseshoes, and then over the weekend, a flea market fundraiser offering a variety of unique items, including antiques.

The annual Cecil Baker Memorial Horseshoe Tournament starts at 10 a.m. Thursday at the horseshoe courts south of the swimming pool at Finnup Park. Qualifying begins at 9 a.m.

The event attracts horseshoe pitchers from as young as 8 to 92 years old from Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Nebraska and other states. The tournament is managed by Warren and Jean Schwab. Warren Schwab is a horseshoe pitcher himself.

The game of horseshoes originated in Kansas with the first contest being held in the summer of 1910 in Bronson. The winner was Frank Jackson, who was awarded a world championship belt with horseshoes attached to it.

The "Babe Ruth" of Horseshoe Pitching, all-time world champion Ted Allen, Boulder, Colo., pitched his first tournament on July 4, 1921, on a large set of lighted courts on the Southwest Corner of Seventh and Chestnut streets in Garden City.

The tournament was started by Cecil Baker, a former teacher, principal, coach, businessman, longtime sports referee, and active horseshoe pitcher, who moved from Sublette to Garden City in 1949, and named it the Annual July 4th Horseshoe Tournament.

For almost 50 years, The Garden City Telegram promoted and sponsored the Horseshoe Tournament as a free event and presented trophies. Baker died in 1966 and The Telegram renamed the tournament to honor him.

It has been called the Annual Cecil Baker Memorial Horseshoe Tournament ever since.

Warren and Jean Schwab mail out invitations, obtain a tent, and provide equipment, time, and effort. Warren obtains cold refreshments and prizes through numerous businesses.

Prizes are awarded in a special drawing for all participants at the end of the tournament. The Baker family donates framed certificates and the entire entry fee goes back to the winners, along with the certificates.

Other activities include:

* The Lee Richardson Zoo will observe extended hours on Thursday for the Municipal Band concert and fireworks viewing. The Fourth Street vehicle entrance gate will close at 8 p.m., with free vehicle admission from 6:30 to 8 p.m. After 8 p.m., the Fifth Street exit gate will remain open for latecomers to enter free of charge.

The Municipal Band concert will start at approximately 8 p.m. on the West Green and the fireworks display begins at dark. There are no personal fireworks or pets allowed in the zoo.

* The Fourth Annual Finney County Historical Society Flea Market is being held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

The market features crafts, art, antiques, collectibles, food, custom products and other items available in booths immediately south of the museum at Lee Richardson Zoo at Finnup Park, and is supported by the Finney County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The Finney County Historical Museum, 403 S. Fourth St., will be closed Thursday and Monday, and the museum's William D. Fulton House will be closed Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Other entities closed in observance of the Fourth of July are as follows:

The offices and facilities at Garden City Public Schools will be closed Thursday in observance of Independence Day. Regular business hours resume Friday.

Garden City Community College will be closed Thursday and Friday.

The Summer Books on the Bus and Kids Meals on Wheels programs will take a break through Friday. The buses will be back on their normal schedule Monday.

All state and local government offices and banks also will be closed on Thursday.

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