“A tradition of bringing people together” is how Exalted Ruler Barbara Ann Heegan described the 100-year legacy of the Oneonta Elks Lodge No. 1312.
On Saturday, Heegan and her fellow members of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks will host an open house to celebrate the centennial of the local lodge. The event will include vendors, a flag-raising ceremony and more.
The founding of the lodge was celebrated a bit differently 100 years ago. On April 28, 1914, the Elks led a processional march of more than 250 people through downtown Oneonta to mark the establishment of Lodge No. 1312.
“Immediately preceding the Oneonta division was a baby carriage in which reposed a baby Elk’s head and a bottle of milk,” The Oneonta Herald reported at the time.
Saturday’s open house will run from 1 to 4 p.m. The flag raising ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. on the front lawn, led by the Oneonta American Legion, in recognition of Flag Day.
But the celebrations don’t end there, Heegan said.
On Saturday, Aug. 9, the Elks will host Family Day, to showcase the many activities and services the Elks provide in the community. There will be a chicken barbecue, and the children can meet Elroy the Elk, the national figure of the Elks Drug Awareness Program, amongst other activities throughout the day.
The Oneonta Elks official centennial dinner will then take place on Saturday, Sept. 6. Details are in the works, including an anniversary booklet for members and attendees.
According to Heegan, the Oneonta lodge keeps very active locally, carrying out its national drug awareness program, including a popular Hoop Shoot event. The lodge contributes to the Elks National Foundation, which is a scholarship fund that provides nearly $4 million annually to students across the country. The Ladies of the Elks work each year to provide a $500 scholarship to a local graduating high school senior. Each state also has a major service project, in which all lodges participate; New York is focused on the treatment and cure for cerebral palsy.