PORTRAITS OF THE PAST: History museum’s exhibit marks Aurora’s 125th birthday

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AURORA | “And many more.”

That’s what Aurorans of every strata will be singing this spring and summer as the city rolls out a slew of events and activities for its upcoming 125th birthday.

Founded as the town of Fletcher in 1891, the city officially celebrates its quasquicentennial — 125 years — in April and organizations across the burg are celebrating with a packed docket of gatherings and happenings.

Sure, everybody knows that much of Aurora’s history has been dominated by beet farming and military comings and goings, but there are plenty of lesser-known, quirky signposts on the long and winding path to Aurora today. Like the Aurora Grand Prix, which took place in a Buckley air field in 1959.

Then there are the several chapters featuring Billie Preston and her horse, Patches. And, of course, there was Aurora High School’s fife, jug and bottle band, which graced the hallways of the now defunct Aurora institution in 1957.

All of those moments are captured in monochromatic photos currently on display at the Aurora History Museum.

The collection, curated from the museum’s nearly 30,000 archived images, was created with the intent of highlighting some of the city’s forgotten moments, according to MaryJane Valade, curator of exhibits at the museum.

“To celebrate the past 125 years, we tried to choose images that have not been seen very often,” Valade said in a statement. “We also looked for events or people our museum visitors might not be familiar with so they can learn something new about this city.”

Here’s a breakdown of what city officials have planned for the city’s birthday bash in the coming months — party hat not included.

Aurora Ale by Dry Dock Brewing Company beer release

Time is to be determined. April 28 at North Dock, 2801 Tower Rd. and April 29 at South Dock 15120 E. Hampden Ave. Entry is free. Check the Dry Dock Facebook page for more information.

Every good celebration needs a specialty beer — this is Colorado, after all. For the city’s upcoming birthday festivities, the team at Dry Dock brewing company is creating a craft “Aurora Ale,” a Belgian style blonde ale brewed with beer sugar — not actual beets — in honor of the region’s agrarian beginnings, according to Emily Hutto, spokeswoman for Dry Dock. Bombers of the adult soda will be available at the brewery’s North Dock location April 28 — at a going rate of only $5 for city of Aurora employees — and on draught during a birthday celebration at the South Dock location April 29.

Birthday Party and Volksmarch

10 a.m. – 4 p.m. April 30, Aurora History Museum, Morrison Nature Center and DeLaney Farm. Free. For more information, visit auroragov.org/aurora125

Although there’s no racewalking expected to take place, April 30 is being billed as Aurora’s true birthday celebration with cake, party hats and face painting to boot. Similar birthday-centric activities will be held at the Aurora History Museum, Morrison Nature Center and Delaney Farm, and a shuttle will transport attendees between the three locations.

DOWN THE PIKE

Birthday story times at Aurora libraries

10:30 a.m. April 26 at Hoffman Library, 1298 Peoria St.; 10:30 a.m. April 27 at MLK Library, 9898 E. Colfax Ave.; 10 a.m. April 28 at Mission Viejo library, 15324 E. Hampden Circle; 4 p.m. April 29 at Central Library, 14949 E. Alameda Parkway; 10:30 a.m. April 27 and 29 at Tallyn’s Reach Library, 23911 E. Arapahoe Road.

Aurora Symphony Orchestra: Arts for a Better Tomorrow

3 p.m. May 15, North Middle School, 12095 Montview Blvd. General admission tickets are $20. For more information, visit aurora symphony.org

Aurora Symphony Orchestra & Aurora Singers Birthday Party Concert

6 – 8 p.m. May 24, the rose garden at The Gardens on Havana, 10551 E. Garden Dr. Free. For more information, visit OnHavanaStreet.com.

Summer in the City

11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Wednesdays, May 24 through Aug. 3, public parks across Aurora. Free. For more information and a full list of dates, visit auroragov.org.