‘Back in the day’ when they had community meetings in Bismarck, it was decided that something needed to be done for the youth. Sleepy Hollow was the result of that conversation and the Junior Service League embraced it as one of their projects. Over the years, sisters Susan Lundberg and Stephanie Delmore have taken over the program, ensuring that it will not go away.
Annie Get Your Gun was the first production, with four shows in 1990. “Annie rode down the hill shooting her gun,” recalled Lundberg. “The second year we did an ‘Amish meets City’ type production and we doubled the number of performances. We borrowed a convertible from Ed Schafer and a buggy, that had belonged to Governor Hanna, from Bill Clairmont for the production.”
Vandals caused a lot of damage that second year. People appeared to do repairs and they were up and running the next evening as though nothing had happened. After that, they asked Boy Scout troops to stay out and guard, or Stephanie and Susan would stay in a camper up by the concession stand. “There was one night someone came out and just stood there, and I said, ‘what if they do something, what are we going to do?’”, said Lundberg. “This was before there were cell phones. We do hire security now.”
Lundberg and Delmore have put in countless hours costuming, painting, fundraising and planning. One of the questions that does come up is, ‘what will happen when they decide they’ve had enough?’ “Our goal is to get Sleepy Hollow on a solid basis,” said Lundberg. “We need to get a paid staff to continue what we started.”
Some of the things they include Sleepy Hollow Productions, helping with costuming and more, especially in smaller communities. They created a wonderful wedding site at Sleepy Hollow and have recently moved the gazebo to establish an area to do a concert series. Lundberg said they are not only trying to raise money for new building projects, but also for continued programming. They have received some grants and donations and are talking to national touring companies who could put on big shows at the park.
Signing a 25 year lease with the Bismarck Parks and Recreation District has given them the ability to expand and they have big plans for additions to the stage, entry turrets, more trees, as well as naming opportunities for the stages, pergolas, pavilion and ticket booth. Make plans to attend at least one event at Sleepy Hollow this summer. There is a reunion planned for July 26, and all alumni are encouraged to attend. For more information visit shtap.org or call 319.0894.
Shrek July 14-18, July 26 – August 1
Chicago July 19-25, August 2-6