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“Perfectly Percy”

Pageant starts campaign to save, restore rural school house

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017 12:10 p.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017 12:24 p.m. CST
(Submitted Photo)
Organizers of the annual Percy fair are brining back another tradition to raise money for the renovation of an old one-room school house. The Perfectly Percy Pageant will offer live music, treats and kids activities for a free will donation. The Pageant is at 2 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Prairie City Church of the Brethren.

PRAIRIE CITY — The Percy School House has been sitting at the Jasper/Marion County line, about a mile south of Highway F70 West for more than a century. It has been a gathering place for the descendants of the now-gone town of Percy for decades, and a rural community room available for rent.

But in the last 15 to 20 years, the old one-room school house has fallen into disrepair. So this Christmas season, community members have found a “Perfectly Percy” way to raise money to save it.

The Perfectly Percy Pageant is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10 at the Prairie City Church of the Brethren. According to co-organizer Cindy Kane, the pageant is a throwback to the historical Percy Christmas productions which ran through the mid-1990s.

There will be traditional Christmas music featuring Bob Slings, Marla Rigby, the Branderhorst Sisters and the Andersons. In addition to sing-alongs, kids, comedy, stories and cookies will entertain the attendees. Kane said everyone in the community is welcome and free-will donations are accepted. The program is a chance for the community to hear about the repairs scheduled for the school house and fairgrounds.

Organizers hope to replace the windows and install a bathroom with plumbing. Kane said the old school house currently has two outhouses which are no longer usable and to keep the building a modern community room, some amenities are need.

“It gets to the point you either have to use the building or what’s the point in having it there,” Kane said. “The younger generations want to keep it alive and going. They’d like to remodel the building and restart the old card club, too.”

The pageant was proposed by Percy descendant Jamie Uitermarkt and is being organized by the decendents of the town of Percy, the same families who host the annual Percy Fair every August.

Percy was once a tiny community on the railroad with a major loading hub for grain, livestock and commodities. It was located 2.5 miles from where the Pleasant Hill Community Building and former school house now stands. Percy and the surrounding farmland were taken into history after the area was flooded by the state to construct Lake Red Rock.

The Percy Fair originally began as a fundraiser for the Pleasant Hill Methodist Church which sits on the gravel road less than a mile west of the fair. Now, the Perfectly Percy Pageant aims to do the same thing for former Percy School House, and save the piece of history central to the Percy celebration.

Contact Mike Mendenhall at mmendenhall@myprairiecitynews.com

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