Utah celebrates 100th birthday,commissions cent

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    By VALERIE O’BAR

    Utah has kicked off its 100-year birthday celebrations with help from local communities, organizations and even the United States Postal Service.

    The celebrations began in Salt Lake last week with a re-enactment of the telegraphic announcement of Utah’s statehood. The festivities continued throughout the week with lectures, bands and historical displays available to the curious public.

    Mary Peach, the information specialist for the division of state history in Utah, considered the week’s events to be a great success.

    “Everyone was in a very celebratory mood,” she said. “I think we were very successful.”

    More people attended the activities than were expected, Peach said.

    “People were taking their children out of school to come see the events,” she said. She also noted how impressed the public was by how much they were able to learn about the history of the state in only one or two days.

    A crowd-pleasing highlight of the week was a ragtime orchestra playing the “park band” style of music popular around 1896.

    Although the first wave of events has already taken place, there are many activities planned throughout the year, mostly by individual counties.

    Provo City has opened a pictorial exhibit at the Provo City Center, featuring pictures of the first downtown Provo and the home of the first Brigham Young Academy.

    Lewis Billings, the acting chief administrative officer for the Provo City mayor’s office, says the exhibit is a great way to see how the town, and BYU, has progressed.

    The United States postal service has contributed to Utah’s centennial by commissioning a special centennial stamp which is now available at local post offices throughout the state. The designer of the stamp, McRay Magleby, is the creative director for publications at BYU.

    According to a press release, he was named “Designer of the Decade” in 1986 by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. He has recently been named one of the “12 most influential designers” in America by HOW magazine. Magleby said he was contacted by the Postal Service in Washington, D.C., a few years ago and commissioned to design the centennial stamp.

    “They told me they would prefer the stamp to have no religious or political overtones, which eliminated about 90 percent of things that have to do with Utah,” he said, explaining his choice of using Delicate Arch in his design.

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