WATFORD CITY Watford City is getting ready to celebrate its 100th birthday June 26-29 with a jam-packed schedule of events.
"It's going to be a great event," said Doug Bolken, who is in charge of marketing for the centennial celebration.
With the increase in population the city is experiencing, Bolken said it is hard to predict how many people will attend the centennial celebration but organizers believe it might be upwards to 10,000 people.
Watford City will be holding its centennial celebration June 26-29. Shown here is the city’s Main Street.
At the gateway of the rugged Badlands and the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and long associated with ranching and legendary ranchers, Watford City is the county seat of North Dakota's largest county, McKenzie County. The city also is being impacted by North Dakota's oil boom.
As for the population of Watford City today, Bolken said, "I would say in the immediate surroundings of Watford City, we would be at a minimum of 10,000 to 12,000 people." In the 2010 census, Watford City had 1,744 people. The just released census estimate, as of July 2013, shows the city has a population of 3,284.
Bolken said more than 40 (art, craft and food) vendors have signed up for the centennial, but they can accept a few more.
Watford City originally was named Watford in 1913 by V.G. Morris, a local physician, according to "Origins of North Dakota Place Names." Morris named it Watford for his former home in Ontario, Canada, which is probably named for Watford in Hartfordshire, England. The post office was established Dec. 8, 1914, with John C. Zeller, postmaster. Watford organized as a village in 1915.
Because of the confusion with the name Wolford in Pierce County, Great Northern Railway officials added "City" to Watford to distinguish the two stations. The name Watford City became the city's official name on May 13, 1916.
Activities kick off Thursday, June 26, with a number of events including the dedication of Centennial Park that evening.
"Our Centennial Festival will be taking place on Friday and Saturday. This festival is very family focused. We have over 10 inflatables, clowns and all kinds of festival food. We are also offering two days of non-stop entertainment," said Bolken.
The Centennial Parade starts the day on Friday, June 27, beginning at 10 a.m.
The all-school reunion will be held both Friday, June 27, and Saturday, June 28, in Watford City High School.
The centennial concludes on Sunday, June 29, with a non-denominational worship service at the McKenzie County Fairgrounds.
Numerous musical groups will perform during the centennial. There will also be a theater production "The Way It Was Watford City History Thru Music" performed in the Watford City High School Media Center.
A Centennial Film Festival with films related to McKenzie County and a Centennial Art Show also will be held.
A Centennial Club was formed that will acknowledge a special group of citizens those born in 1938 and before.
"Our chairperson, Patsy Levang, has gone out into the community and signed up many of the members. Our intention is to recognize this special group of people at all of the events through the weekend," Bolken said.
The Centennial Steering Committee is comprised of seven people, Bolken said. "Each committee member has oversaw a particular area of the centennial. Altogether, there are more than 30 people who have contributed to the success of the centennial. We have been planning this event for over two years in June it will be two and a half years."
For a complete schedule of centennial events and other information visit (watfordcitycentennial.com).