Thursday, March 8, 2018

Midgley Bridge Dedication Entertainment

There were at least 123 entertainers at the Midgley Bridge dedication ceremony October 8, 1939. Event organizers literally went the extra mile to bring entertainers from the far flung corners of Northern Arizona.  Santa Fe Trailways donated two state-of-the-art, air-conditioned busses.  One bus picked up the Tuba City Hopi Band and the other bus brought in 32 Holbrook high schoolers.

Event records show that 123 entertainers were fed at the barbecue.  As Reg Manning quipped on his cartoon promo for the event, "Midgley Bridge will be dedicated to the music of umpteen different kinds of bands."  R.W. Wingfield even brought a group of Apache "Devil Dancers" from the Camp Verde Reservation.  Unfortunately, there are no known photos of any aspect of the dedication ceremony.  Photos of the entertainment would have been especially appealing.

The leader of one small group that  performed was nationally-renowned: Romaine Lowdermilk.  See this link for a look at how he described the music he and his musicians planned to bring:

We were able to photograph some of the event records regarding entertainment.  The focus on food and fun easily set this bridge dedication into a league of its own.

In the 100's of letters, documents and clippings contained in the archived record of the bridge dedication, there is only one post-event report pertaining to a performance of any of the entertainer.  The lead paragraph is especially snappy: "Snappily dressed in their Scotch Kilts, the Holbrook Drum and Bugle Corps, led by Drum Major Verne Seidel, played for a large audience in Oak Creek Canyon at the dedication of the new bridge and Highway 79, Sunday Oct. 8th."

Rather than burden this post with excessive photos of correspondence and clippings, we have created a photo album for any potentially serious students of this event.  It is located here:

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