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Jim Thorpe Birthday celebration set for May 18, 19

Published March 27. 2013 05:02PM

Jim Thorpe Area Council will be sponsoring the 18th annual Jim Thorpe Birthday Weekend on Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19. This event honors James Francis Thorpe, a Native American and "Athlete of the 20th Century".

Festivities start off at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May with a Native American Tribute at the Jim Thorpe Mausoleum along with Don Wild Eagle, John Thorpe (Grandson), Carlisle guests and Native Americans.

This year is the 50th Anniversary of his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the ceremonies will commemorate that honor.

At 11 a.m. the Jim Thorpe High School Olympian Cross Country and Track Teams will carry the lighted torch from the monument to the Jim Thorpe High School Stadium to light the Olympic Torch for the Special Olympic Track and Field Competition and then down Route 903 to the Heights, down Opera House Hill and then down Broadway to Josiah White Park for the lighting of the Olympic Torch.

Varsity cheerleaders will stretch a ribbon across Broadway in front of the County of Carbon Court House before the arrival of the runners. Medals will be awarded to the team and coach and the resolution that Rep. Doyle Heffley had the Pennsylvania House pass declaring that May 18, 2013 has been named "James Francis Thorpe Day" in the Commonwealth will be read. Town dignitaries will also be invited to honor this occasion with their presence.

A large birthday cake will be presented, cut and pieces sold as part of the festivities for the weekend.

In addition, there will be the following activities in the Josiah White Park: Native Nations Dance Theater, Saturday and Sunday; Earth lore and Dance by Don Wild Eagle and family, Saturday and Sunday; Medicine Horse Drum Group, Saturday and Sunday; Brad and Luke Duo, Saturday and Sunday; Buster the Clown for the children, Saturday and Sunday; Jim Thorpe Cheerleaders performance, Saturday only; Faculty Brass Strolling through town, Saturday and Sunday; Terry Strongheart, Sunday; Dimmick Memorial Library, Terry Strongheart, Saturday and Sunday; Tony T and John Lyons, Saturday and Sunday.

There will be a Special Olympic Track and Field competition on Saturday in the Jim Thorpe High School Stadium.

At the Mauch Chunk Opera House, Commander Cody and Professor Louis will perform Saturday evening.

Special guests for the event are, John Thorpe, Jim Thorpe's grandson; Gunilla Lyden, Olympic Stadium, Stockholm, Sweden; Church and Wanda Gentile, retired sports director, Carlisle United States Armey War College; and Coach Hann's, Iron Five.

There will be craft vendors and food, and all attractions, shops and restaurants will be open. There will be a Chinese auction on Saturday and Sunday in Josiah White Park. Donations are being accepted at Nature's Trail, 5 Broadway, Jim Thorpe.

For additional information, contact Ann Marie Fitzpatrick, event coordinator at (570) 325-9281 or email or see the website at

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