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Sylva celebrates its 125th anniversary

fr sylva125The Town of Sylva is celebrating its 125th year since incorporation. To mark the occasion, a slate of activities are planned for Oct. 10-11. The celebration pays homage to the history of the town.

“The activities are all things that would have happened in 1889,” explained Sylva Town Manager Paige Roberson.

The anniversary celebration will include a cake walk, clogging and storytelling. There will also be history tours, an ice cream social and a horse parade.

The event will feature a Heritage Tent, where people can delve a bit deeper into history. They can get a look at old tools used during the 1800s. Or maybe study up on the history of Sylva’s African-American community.

More modern offerings will also be included in the celebration. On Friday night there’s a concert in Bridge Park. On Saturday there’s an antique car show. 

Sylva Mayor Maurice Moody noted that the weekend event celebrates both place and people.

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“We want to celebrate not only the town’s 125th anniversary but celebrate the citizens, founders, and civic leaders who, over the last 125 years, have made Sylva the strong town that it is today,” Moody said. “We are thankful for the residents and this celebration is for the community.”

The 125th celebration also presents an opportunity to step back in time. Attendees may participate in an era-specific costume showing, or compete in a William Sylva look-alike contest.

Several Sylva officials, including Moody, have been laying off of shaving in the weeks leading up to the festival in an effort to grow out a beard befitting the 1880s. Town Attorney Eric Ridenour was sporting quite the specimen until recently.

“I call it the Wyatt Earp,” the attorney joked.

Ridenour shaved recently because he had a big case and felt the 1880s facial hair may not play well in the courtroom. Plus, it was getting messy.

“The bushier it got I was wiping my mouth every bite I ate,” he said.

Sylva’ 125th celebration will conclude with a town photo on the steps of the Jackson County Courthouse at the end of Main Street. Following the photo, there will be an ice cream social. 


Want to join?

Sylva’s 125th anniversary celebration will be held Oct. 10-11 downtown.

Oct. 10 

7 to 9 p.m. The band Sundown performs at Bridge Park

Oct. 11

9 a.m. Farmers market opens

10 a.m. Storyteller Shawn Crowe; Main Street horse parade

10:30 a.m. William Sylva look-a-like contest

11 a.m. Costume showing; antique car show begins; heritage tours begin; storytellers, Ammons Sister; poor-man’s lunch is served at First Baptist Church

12 p.m. Queen Family concert; square dancers; cake walk

1 p.m. Storyteller, Dave Waldrop

2 p.m. Clogging; storyteller, Gary Carden

3:30 p.m. Town photo on courthouse steps; ice cream social


Commemorative ornament

To commemorate Sylva’s 125th anniversary, the town is offering a specially-made Christmas ornament. The ornament features the Jackson County Courthouse, which now serves as a library.

The commemorative ornament may be purchased at the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce or Town of Sylva offices.

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