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A soggy celebration for North Dakota

Cast members from the Medora Musical sing for the crowd Saturday, during North Dakota’s 125th anniversary celebration at the Capitol in Bismarck. Photo by Will Kincaid / Bismarck Tribune1 / 3
South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, left, and North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple hold up a T-shirt honoring the states’ unique relationship Saturday in Bismarck. Photo by Will Kincaid / Bismarck Tribune 2 / 3
From left, Gov. Dalrymple and his wife, Betsy, and Linda Daugaard with her husband, Gov. Daugaard, stay dry while watching musicians perform Saturday in Bismarck. Photo by Katherine Lyme3 / 3

BISMARCK - It’s technically called a quasquicentennial, but for North Dakotans it meant gathering outside – despite some rain – for music.

While the state’s actual 125th anniversary of statehood is Nov. 2, which will see a more formal celebration, North Dakota talent gathered Saturday at the Capitol Mall for speeches from leaders and some homegrown music.

“We’re here because we love North Dakota and we wanted to be a part of the big celebration,” said Eunice Wolf of Bismarck.

Wolf and others spent much of the morning looking at the sky, hoping the clouds could keep hold of the rain, but soon after the speeches began, so did the rain.

Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley called the crowds that stuck it out “the heartiest of the heartiest,” and joked that they should all be nominated for Rough Rider Awards.

State enthusiasts enjoyed performances from an array of artists, including the Medora Musical’s Burning Hills Singers, Jessie Veeder of Watford City, and Tigirlily of Hazen, also known as Kendra and Krista Slaubaugh.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple also joined in as an entertainer. He led a singing of “Happy Birthday” to the state, and in his remarks compared the economic boom and entrepreneurship the state is seeing today to the values of North Dakotans 125 years ago.

“We have always known we were No. 1,” he said. “Now the rest of the nation knows it, too.”

Dalrymple rattled off North Dakota’s growing list of good rankings, from low unemployment rate to increasing personal income.

The governor, who had a lot of his own family members at the event, described how Oliver Dalrymple, his great-great-grandfather, moved to Casselton in 1875 – 14 years before North Dakota became a state.

The governor said he still has letters addressed to “O. Dalrymple, Casselton, D.T. (Dakota Territory),” from when the land was Dakota Territory.

Putting aside the friendly rivalry between the two states that once shared the territory, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard told the crowd that the two states’ prosperity and perseverance set them apart from the rest of the country.

“We still are, in the Dakotas, what the rest of the states used to be,” he said.

North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven presented a U.S. Senate resolution congratulating the state on 125 years, and listing accomplishments of North Dakota’s statehood so far, including the establishment of Theodore Roosevelt National Park in 1949; and a series of oil boom-related benefits, including population growth and reaching a million barrels of oil production per day.

Saturday also marked the opening of an art exhibit, “Under the Dakota Sky,” at the Heritage Center.

The display, which will go through Oct. 23, features art, photography, sculpture, poetry and more from more than 70 North Dakota artists, said 125th anniversary coordinator Janean Rambough.

“I’ve seen a number of the pieces up there, and it’s kind of amazing to me that there’s that much diversity,” Rambough said.