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Signature celebration: Pen used to sign North Dakota into statehood at today’s 125th event

BISMARCK — North Dakota will have the loudest of its celebrations of 125 years of statehood today on the Capitol Mall.

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple, North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven and South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard will speak at the event’s opening ceremony at 11 a.m. CDT, and will be followed by musical performances from North Dakotan artists or bands, including western North Dakota’s own Jessie Veeder.

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“It’s been an honor to be a part of those small-town events over here in western North Dakota and then I think this is a great way to wrap up those celebrations in Bismarck,” the country singer/songwriter said.

Veeder said she’s participated in smaller celebrations for several city centennials this year.

From 11:45 a.m. through the evening, artists including Veeder, Tigirlily, Dickinson native Mitch Malloy and the Burning Hills Singers will perform from three stages. The North Dakota National Guard Quintet will open the event at 10:30 a.m.

A last-minute addition to Saturday’s festivities will be the display of the pen President Benjamin Harrison used to sign both North and South Dakota into the union in 1889.

The pen will be displayed in the Heritage Center from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., said Jim Soyer, a spokesman for Daugaard’s office. Usually, the pen is on display at the state’s Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre, S.D.

Event coordinator Janean Rambough said she hopes with the music and the unveiling of a homegrown artists’ exhibit, “Under the Dakota Sky,” people learn about the talents of North Dakotans.

“I think sometimes, because we aren’t one of the bigger states or the bigger cities, … people don’t recognize that we have so much talent among our own people,” she said. “I hope people just come away feeling proud of North Dakota.”

For the actual 125th anniversary, Nov. 2, Rambough and other organizers are planning a more formal event with the ribbon-cutting for the new Heritage Center, she said.

Ongoing construction at the Capitol will affect parking options Saturday.

The small lot west of the Department of Transportation building and closest to the event Saturday will be reserved for handicapped parking, Rambough previously told Forum News Service. She encouraged others to park in the east DOT lot, the northwest lot and the legislative lot on the Capitol’s west side.

Lymn is a reporter for the Dickinson Press. Contact her at 701-456-1211.

Tweet her at kathlymn.