Rotary’s VolksMarch to honor Alabama bicentennial

MADISON – In its second year, VolksMarch of Madison on Oct. 26 will pay tribute to the bicentennial celebration of Alabama statehood.

Rotary Club of Madison sponsors VolksMarch. These events started in Europe as a noncompetitive 3.1-mile or 5-kilometer walk, Rotarian and event coordinator Bailey Erickson.

Participants can park and register at Madison City Schools Stadium as starting point for VolksMarch. Individuals who register before Oct. 15 will receive a commemorative mug. To register online, visit madisonalrotary.org/volksmarch or volksmarch.eventbrite.com.

Event hours will be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Madison Station Historical Preservation Society will ask walkers to sign a scroll for a time capsule, which also will contain a city key and coin.

Walkers will proceed north on Celtic Drive and meander through downtown streets. In Old Madison Cemetery, members of the Balch, Gooch, Clemens, Palmer and Sturdivant families will detail the lives of generations of city founders.

Rotarians ask participants to dress in period costume from any era between 1819 and 2019. Suggestions include antebellum dresses, a nurse uniform from the 1860s or a Roarin’ 20s flapper.

Re-enactors will present the Bank Robbery of 1928 at 204 Main St.

Girl Scouts also will dress in costume and describe historic homes and their owners on Church Street. A dulcimer quintet will entertain the crowd along the route.

From Fantasy Playhouse Children’s Theatre, actors in two locations will sing Alabama folk songs and demonstrate games that children played in the 1800s. Along the route, a local group will discuss African American history in Alabama.

At the original site of West Madison Elementary School, three Scouts will explain the daily schedules of a schoolteacher and student in the early 1900s. Three re-enactors will discuss Buttermilk Alley, where Mrs. William Humphrey at 23 Front St. fed cornbread and buttermilk to hobos from the train.

On the Village Green, a historical encampment of about 40 actors dressed in period costume will present flags, weapons and other artifacts of 1800s Alabama. A cannon and Union and Confederate soldiers will add authenticity to re-enact the brief Battle at Madison Station.

Also, LaBelle Boyd will open her ‘tea room’ and teach listeners about lifestyles for Alabama women and children in the 19th century. “You may also see President Lincoln and Horace King who built Alabama’s capitol building,” Erickson said.

Huntsville Porch Pickers with lawyers to rocket scientists and the group Mill Towne will perform songs from 1819 to 2019 in the Gazebo.

At 2:15 p.m., Rotarians will bury the time capsule during a ceremony with Madison Mayor Paul Finley by the Roundhouse on Front Street.

After VolksMarch, walkers can attend an Octoberfest party at 2 p.m. at Old Black Bear with a German band, German lunch buffet and awards for Best Costume.

All proceeds will benefit Rotarians’ local projects. For more information, email volksmarch@madisonalrotary.org.

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