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Mini art hunt, parade, cannon fire all part of 19th annual White Cloud Days

With White Cloud — the venerated albino bison that is part of the National Buffalo Museum's bison herd — turning 19 on Saturday, the Jamestown community is planning a celebration of her birth and the region's history with a wide variety of activities.

Ilana Xinos, National Buffalo Museum director, said the lineup of activities being offered by different community groups and service organizations to mark White Cloud's birthday is "amazing."

"The community really supports White Cloud and the National Buffalo Museum," Xinos said.

She said White Cloud Days doesn't happen without the help of partner organizations that support the National Buffalo Museum: Jamestown Tourism, Frontier Village, the Arts Center, Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce, Stutsman County Memorial Musuem, Fort Seward, Jamestown Classic Car Club, Jamestown Fire Department and Jamestown Parks and Recreation.

Events related to White Cloud Days start at 7 p.m. today with Ol' Friends, a band that performs a mix of bluegrass, folk and gospel music, in the Frontier Village Amphitheater.

The Frontier Village will also serve grilled buffalo burgers starting at 11 a.m. Saturday in front of the General Store.

The celebration wraps up Sunday with free admission to the National Buffalo Museum and discounts at the Prairie Winds Gift Shop. A cannon demonstration and frontier firearms presentation will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday at Fort Seward.

White Cloud's birthday party on Saturday

The theme for this year's White Cloud Birthday celebration is a carnival. Frontier Village will be closed to vehicle traffic starting at 10 a.m. Saturday. The birthday carnival runs from noon to 4 p.m. and will be located in the parking lot in front of the National Buffalo Museum.

Xinos said there will be live music by Dave Cofell, a Minnesota-based musician. Birthday cookies will be served. Carnival booths will be set up with games provided from different civic organizations. Children will also have an opportunity to go through a pirate ship inflatable-obstacle course.

"We decided to make White Cloud's birthday party a carnival theme this year," Xinos said. "We want people to come up to the museum, to the Frontier Village, have fun and explore this area."


The Jamestown Fire Department is holding its annual pancake breakfast from 6 a.m. to noon Saturday at the fire station on 2nd Avenue Northwest. Jamestown Fire Chief Jim Reuther previously said that last year the department served more than 1,250 people.

White Cloud Days Parade

It's not possible to mark White Cloud's birthday without a parade. The Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce is organizing the White Cloud Days Parade again this year. Chamber Executive Director Becky Thatcher-Keller said the deadline has passed for registration to enter the parade.

Thatcher-Keller said there were 55 registered entries as of Tuesday morning, which does not include about 35 or more vehicles she was expecting from the Jamestown Classic Car Club.

"I'm figuring we'll have 85 to 90 entries for the parade," she said.

The Blue Jays Marching Band and a mounted drill team, the New West Heritage Riders, will be in the parade, as well as vehicles from the Jamestown Fire Department and some floats and entries from the El Zagal Mystics and the El Zagal Clowns.

Parade lineup starts at 8:30 a.m. in McElroy Park. Thatcher-Keller said the parade route starts at McElroy Park, heads north up 2nd Avenue Southeast to 10th Street Southeast and then turns onto 1st Avenue North. The parade goes north on 1st Avenue then turns right onto 1st Street Southeast, goes past Sabir's II and the All Vets Club, then turns right again onto 2nd Avenue Southeast. The parade then proceeds south to McElroy Park.

Based on past parades, spectators should watch from 1st Avenue North as the parade tends to break up about halfway down 2nd Avenue Southeast, Thatcher-Keller said.

Mini Art Hunt

New to White Cloud Days this year, although it is not a new event, is the Arts Center's Mini Art Hunt. Arts Center Director Cyndi Wish said this is the sixth year the art hunt will be held, but it is the first year the hunt is being held as part of White Cloud Days.

The Arts Center's staff will hide 12 small works of art in parks all around Jamestown. The art was created by William "Mr. Billy" Hessian, an artist Wish said specializes in art hunts and was an artist in residence at the Arts Center.

Hessian has created 12 1-by-1.5-inch square artworks featuring a painting of a buffalo. Wish said at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday visual clues will be released for the location of each artwork in one of the city's parks. The clues, which are photos of each piece of art, will be available at the Art Center's blog,, which is also featured on The Sun's website at under the "area voices" site.

The Arts Center will also have a booth set up at McElroy Park starting at 10 a.m. so people can look at the visual clues without having to go online.

"The clues will be hidden in plain sight," Wish said. "You won't have to dig up anything or move anything to find the clues."

Wish said the Arts Center is asking that only one of the artworks be claimed per family.

"You can locate them all if you want, but we ask that people only take one per family," she said.

McElroy Park events

McElroy Park will be swarming with activity from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday as Jamestown Parks and Recreation Department will have music, crafters and food vendors in the park. The Jamestown Classic Car Club will host its Buffalo Rally Car Show at this time as well.

Jack Meikle, Classic Car Club member, said the show will feature a wide range of vehicles, from rat rods and street rods to classic cars.

"We had a low turnout last year, something in the 60s," he said.

This year Meikle would like to see that number get up in the 80s or 90s.

Chris Olson

Hometown: Traverse City, MI College: Northwestern Michigan College and Michigan State University

(701) 952-8454