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The Ozark Golden Wedding Jubilee was a commemoration of couples who had been married fifty years, during which they reaffirmed their wedding vows. Taking place in 1949 and 1950 in Rogers (Benton County) and hosted by the Chamber of Commerce, the celebration was open to couples across the country and featured a recently married honor couple at both June events.
The day of June 23, 1949, marked the first golden wedding event, at which seventy-eight couples celebrated their renewed vows. Married the preceding Wednesday during the Bride and Groom radio broadcast in Hollywood, California, Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Tandy Gardner of Seattle, Washington, both pre-med students at the University of Washington, were the honor couple, awarded a week’s honeymoon in Rogers and locally donated gifts.
The following year, the second golden wedding jubilee was held on June 16, 1950, with 117 couples reaffirming their vows. The honor couple that year was selected from applications coming from Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. Missouri couple Florence Clifford of Independence and Robert Hawley of Kansas City received the honors with a marriage ceremony and reception.
In both celebrations, the Reverend J. H. Martin, a former Rogers Church of Christ minister, officiated on the steps of the Harris Hotel, complemented by singing and followed by a parade with a surrey for the honor couple. A reception followed at the Lake Atalanta Lakeside skating rink for family and guests, complete with a wedding cake donated by Roy Webster Bakery of Rogers. “Golden Wedding Certificates of Re-Marriage”—bearing the City of Rogers seal and signatures of the minister, mayor, and president of the Rogers Chamber of Commerce—were issued to the couples. There is no record of the Ozark Golden Wedding Jubilee continuing past these two events that most likely served to increase tourism to the area.
For additional information: Bland, Gaye. “Ozark Golden Wedding Jubilee Brought Couples to Rogers.” Rogers Hometown News. July 7, 1999, p. 5B.
“Couples in Golden Years Reaffirm Vows at Jubilee.” Northwest Arkansas Morning News. May 25, 1986, p. 5E.
“Highlighting Golden Wedding Jubilee: To Spend Week’s Honeymoon at Harris.” Rogers Daily News. June 6, 1950, p. 1.
“Wedding Jubilee Revives Many Pleasant Memories; Old Friends Reunited First Time in Years.” Rogers Daily News. June 17, 1949, p. 1.
“Wedding to Missouri Couple to Highlight Golden Jubilee.” Rogers Daily News. June 2, 1950, p. 1.
John SpurgeonBella Vista, Arkansas
Last Updated 4/9/2010
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