Here’s yet another example of how much every vote counts: In 1911, Arroyo Grande citizens approved the incorporation of their community by a margin of just two votes.
According to news accounts from that time, 88 voted in favor of incorporation, and 86 voted against it.
We have no doubt that residents eventually would have supported cityhood for Arroyo Grande even if it had been voted down in 1911 — but then we wouldn’t be celebrating the city’s centennial this weekend.
And what a weekend it is: Arroyo Grande is proudly hosting several events, culminating in a Sunday afternoon block party, parade and fireworks show.
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We join in offering our congratulations to the city, with special kudos to the volunteers and visionaries who have worked diligently over the years to preserve the community’s rich history, its agricultural heritage and small town charm.
Thanks to them, Arroyo Grande is a rich blend of old and new, rural and urban.
Consider: It’s home to a large hospital; a regional library; a comprehensive high school; an impressive performing arts center; two movie theaters; big box stores; and a number of new housing developments.
Yet for all that growth, it still accommodates family farms that have been an integral part of the region’s development.
In 2004, in fact, the city was named community of the year by the Coastal San Luis Resource Conservation District for its efforts to protect farmland within city limits.
The city also has done a commendable job of setting standards to preserve the most significant historic landmarks of the Village.
Locals may disagree with some of the changes made over the past couple of decades, but in looking at “then” and “now” photographs of the Village, we’re struck by how many historic buildings remain essentially unchanged.
For example, the IOOF Hall — once the meeting place of the International Order of Oddfellows — was built in 1902 and looks much the same as it did then. Today, the building is owned and operated by the South County Historical Society and houses historical exhibits.
The Arroyo Grande Swinging Bridge — the only one of its kind in the state of California — was built in 1875. It’s been restored and reinforced over the years, but it has retained its historic flavor and remains one of the most popular landmarks in South County.
So take a bow, Arroyo Grande.
It’s been a remarkable 100 years. Here’s wishing you hundreds more.
6 to 11 p.m. Centennial Gala. Event features cocktails at a no-host bar from 6 to 7 p.m., full-service dinner at 7:15 p.m., dancing and magician Rich Ferguson. South County Regional Center, 800 W. Branch St. Tickets are $75; www.arroyograndecentennial.org/gala.shtml
7 p.m. Square dance. Free event. International Order of Odd Fellows hall, 128 Bridge St.
8 a.m. Centennial 5K run. Fundraising event organized by Kiwanis of Greater Pismo Beach to benefit youth activities in the South County. Race-day registration opens at 6:45 a.m. at Short and Nelson streets. Cost is $35. http://centennialrun.com/.
Noon to 5 p.m., 7 p.m. to midnight. Western dance. Free event. International Order of Odd Fellows hall, 128 Bridge St.
7 a.m., Sunday Sunrise Service, Rotary Bandstand in Heritage Square Park. Non-denominational service with Pastor Steve Henry of Harvest Church.
11 a.m. Vendor and food booths, live bands, games and rides, historical displays. Olohan Alley, Heritage Square Park and on Bridge Street.
Noon. The 1986 time capsule will be dug up and contents displayed, and the Centennial Time Capsule will be buried. Centennial Park in the Village.
1 to 3 p.m. Summer concert series featuring music from the 1950s. Rotary Bandstand at Heritage Square Park.
4 p.m. Centennial block party. Entertainment and dancing. Grand Avenue from Halcyon Road to Mason Street.
6 p.m. Centennial Parade. Grand Avenue from Halcyon Road to Mason Street.
9 p.m. Fireworks finale. City Hall council chambers on Branch Street.