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President’s pen added to 125th year celebration

BISMARCK — North Dakota will have the loudest of its celebrations of 125 years of statehood today on the Capitol Mall.

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple, North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven and South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard will speak at the event’s opening ceremony at 11 a.m. and will be followed by musical performances from North Dakotan artists or bands, including western North Dakota’s Jessie Veeder.

“It’s been an honor to be a part of those small-town events over here in western North Dakota, and then I think this is a great way to wrap up those celebrations in Bismarck,” said the country singer-songwriter, who added that she has participated in smaller celebrations for several city centennials this year.

The North Dakota National Guard Quintet will open the event at 10:30 a.m.

A last-minute addition to the festivities will be the display of the pen President Benjamin Harris used to sign both North and South Dakota into the union in 1889.

The pen will be displayed in the Heritage Center from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., said Jim Soyer, a spokesman for Daugaard’s office. Usually, the pen is on display at his state’s Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre, S.D.

Event coordinator Janean Rambough said she hopes with the music and the unveiling of a homegrown artists’ exhibit, “Under the Dakota Sky,” people learn about the talents of North Dakotans.

“I think sometimes, because we aren’t one of the bigger states or the bigger cities … people don’t recognize that we have so much talent among our own people,” she said. “I hope people just come away feeling proud of North Dakota.”

For the actual 125th anniversary, Nov. 2, Rambough and other organizers are planning a more formal event with the ribbon-cutting for the new Heritage Center, she said.

Ongoing construction at the Capitol will affect parking options today.

The small lot west of the Department of Transportation building and closest to the event will be reserved for handicapped parking, Rambough said. She encouraged others to park in the east DOT lot, the northwest lot and the legislative lot on the Capitol’s west side.