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Orange County celebrates 275 years
BY ROBIN KNEPPER
Orange County celebrated its 275th anniversary Saturday with a low-key affair at the historic courthouse.
That suited Lee Frame, chairman of the Board of Supervisors, just fine. "It doesn't have the kick of 250 or 300 years, so it was hard to get up a lot of enthusiasm," he said. "The event was generated pretty much at the last minute."
He credited acting County Administrator Julie Jordan, the Orange Downtown Alliance and the Chamber of Commerce with pulling the event together.
He also thanked the school system for its help. Orange public school students were a big part of the festivities.
The Junior ROTC honor guard kicked off the commemoration on the courthouse lawn. Students of all ages participated in an art and essay contest, and the Orange County High School chorus performed at the train depot.
Frame described the event's atmosphere as "sort of like a block party. People were milling around the depot, having a beer, listening to the music.
"There was food for sale by local people and the restaurants on Main Street filled up for dinner."
Dinner was followed by fireworks set off from the roof of the courthouse, courtesy of Walmart.
"After the special-use permit for its new supercenter was approved by the county, we were contacted by Walmart," said Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Barbara Bannar. "They asked about ways they could thank the citizens of Orange County that supported them."
Historian Frank Walker gave walking tours of downtown Orange and talked about the county's rich history.
The free tours included the downtown Orange historic district, with stories of the original roads, the coming of the railroad, the great fire of 1908 that wiped out much of the downtown, and the Civil War.
Robin Knepper: 540/972-5701