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Guthrie's 1939 89er Queen to lead this year's parade

Guthrie's 1939 89er Queen is the image on this year's commemorative button and the parade marshal.
BY TRICIA PEMBERTON tpemberton@opubco.com Published: April 27, 2011
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Eddie Lou Halsey is like royalty in Guthrie.

At 86, she's the oldest living 89er Queen, a title she received in 1939. She was the second 89er Queen named and served during the golden anniversary of the city's 89er Days festivities.

The festivities are held each year to commemorate the Land Run of April 22, 1889. They continue this year, today through Saturday.

“I was just a babe in arms,” Halsey said of the spring she was named queen. “I was green as grass, I can tell you that.”

She was just 14 in 1939, but as a horseman's daughter and a member of the Guthrie Round-Up Club, she could ride horses — the main requirement of an 89er Queen in the early days.

“Back then everybody had a horse,” she said.

She also could square dance on a horse, something called a quadrille. And she'd been riding in the city's parade since she was a much younger girl.

“I think I was 5 or 6 when I rode in my first parade,” she said. “I rode in a buggy, then on my little horse.

“It's just been a part of my life,” she said, “a part of my family's life.”

‘Button lady'

Even though she's known as a queen, Halsey's second nickname is “button lady.”

She said after serving as queen, she started working on the committee to design and sell the buttons that were sold each year to raise money for the annual parade.

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89er Days

Festivities continue today through Saturday, including:

• A carnival from 4 to 10 p.m. today through Friday and from noon to midnight Saturday.

• An old-timer baseball game, played with 1889 rules and authentic uniforms, at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Squires Field, one block east of Division Street on Springer. Concessions will be available.

• A parade at noon Saturday, traveling down Oklahoma Avenue to Second Street, then south to Harrison Avenue and east to Broad Street.

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