Papillion is soaring into the new decade ready to remember its past with its 150th anniversary celebration this year.

The city, founded in 1870, will take a look back through the years with projects and events that focus on its history. Many community building events are already posted on the Papillion 150 website, papillion150.com.

The project was created by the Papillion 150 Committee, consisting of the city, schools, Papillion Community Foundation, nonprofits, involved individuals and more. Mayor David Black said both old and new faces to Papillion are represented.

The Butterfly Effect, a worldwide movement, is one of the projects that will celebrate the city’s roots. Papillion 150 and the Bianchi family, owners of Bianchi Candle Co., local groups will sponsor and create 12 butterfly murals.

People are encouraged to take photos with the murals, which will be placed throughout the city. Those who do should post them on social media with the hashtags #papillion150 #butterflyeffect #socialbutterfly.

Texting the picture to 402-215-2464 means Tasha Wahl, founder of the Butterfly Effect, will make a donation on the sender’s behalf to the Papillion Community Foundation and other local organizations. The Papillion Community Foundation’s donations will be used to create its first endowment fund, said Laura Schwartz, Papillion Community Foundation executive director.

For another celebratory project, the service committee will be creating a new large butterfly garden and cleaning up various existing butterfly gardens.

The new garden will be installed by Veterans Park. Currently in the planning stages, the Papillion 150 Committee will work with the Papillion Garden Club and Master Gardener Program to ensure proper planting and that the butterflies have what they need to thrive, Schwartz said.

They want to make the garden a place where community members can learn about butterflies.

“(We’ll do) anything we can do to help sustain that species because it’s on the endangered list right now and it’s the mascot of our city,” Schwartz said.

To further appreciate the city’s mascot, more than 30 butterfly benches, sponsored by local businesses, organizations and individuals, will be revealed sometime in May.

The benches’ prototype was designed by artist Al Rhea of Papillion and were painted by local artists. Some focus on the city’s history and culture.

One bench is already on display at the entrance of Sump Memorial Library. The rest will be placed throughout Papillion from April 12 to Sept. 7 and mapped out for visitors. Some will remain there permanently.

The Papillion Area Concert Band will have three concerts this year, each themed around a different 50-year chunk of the city’s history. The first one, on Jan. 26, will showcase Papillion during 1870–1920 through historical songs and narrative.

At the city’s annual Papillion Days in June, the Papillion 150 Committee want to break the Guinness World Record for having the largest gathering of people dressed as butterflies. Those in the parade will be dressed up, and those attending are invited to be part of it as well.

They’ll need 250 dressed up to break the record, which Papillion Spokesman Trenton Albers said he finds achievable.

Papio Pete, named after Sarpy County’s namesake Peter Sarpy, will be at many of the Papillion Days events — some new and some revamped to fit the 150th theme.

“We want to take the Papillion 150 events and use them as a way to show our community the great things that are happening throughout the year,” Albers said.

Albers said the Papillion 150 Committee is still adding more events to the online calendar as they’re accepting event applications throughout the year.

Those interested in holding an event can apply online at papillion150.com/get-involved through the application at the bottom of the page.

Another way residents can get involved is by submitting their stories or photos. Submissions can be posted on the Papillion 150 website. Send them to talbers@papillion.org.

Volunteers and sponsors are also needed throughout the celebration. Those interested should fill out the top form at papillion150.com/get-involved.

Many people today are so busy, Schwartz said, that they don’t find time to get involved in the community. She said the Papillion 150 projects are a great way for residents of all ages to get involved as much or as little as they can to bring everyone closer together.

“What we really want to get out of Papillion 150 is creating a legacy of volunteerism, community involvement and engagement as the city grows,” Schwartz said.

Black said with Papillion’s recent metamorphosis from being “a small town where everyone knew each other,” to a bigger city, it’s a great time to look back on its history and celebrate its future.

“We’ve been experienced incredible growth in the last few years,” Black said. “It’s a great time to look back and celebrate tradition and thank the people who have been involved over the years.”

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