Bismarck is celebrating it’s 150th anniversary this year, and with plenty of plans in development, we’re all looking forward to big changes in the coming days. But it’s hard to focus on the future without respecting the past. To honor that aspect, the Former Governor’s Mansion has been a hotspot for community events for years… and 2022 is no exception.

As part of the 150th anniversary celebrations, an ice cream social was held this weekend at the Former Governor’s Mansion, bringing the past, present, and future together for a miniature local festival. Our digital correspondent shared his favorite photos and features of the event in this photo gallery.

The exterior of the Former Governor’s Mansion.

The main ceremonies of the social began at noon with an opening speech and the presentation of the colors by veterans from United Tribes Technical College.

The opening of the colors presentation.

Hot dogs were served to all attendees, and of course, the promised ice cream of both the normal and slightly out-of-the-ordinary varieties (strawberry rhubarb and chokecherry) were brought straight from the Pride Dairy.

Word of advice: try both the strawberry rhubarb and chokecherry together. You’ll thank us later.

Some local businesses also took the opportunity to show up to help with the festival — including free groups of flowers provided by Baldwin Greenhouse, old-fashioned games, and face painting for children by Theo Art School.

The 150th anniversary of Bismarck also happens to coincide with the 132nd anniversary of the El Zagal Shriners, and they wanted to join in on the fun, too. By the parking lots of the mansion, the group showcased a series of vintage cars — and a 1917 fire engine — at the event.

Open, self-guided tours of the Governor’s Mansion were also permitted throughout the festival, and those who stepped inside were also greeted with the opportunity to bring the past and present together for one of the city’s 150th Anniversary History and Mystery Scavenger Hunts.

Visitors to the mansion were greeted by Sarah, one of the mansion’s original residents. If that’s true, she certainly doesn’t look her age.

The hunts are courtesy of InnovatAR and their Yondar program. The system, using mapping technology, led guests on a trek through the area using a system of beacons. Upon completion of the hunt, players were rewarded with golden tickets that can be redeemed for entry into a grand prize drawing at the Downtown Street Fair.

The History and Mystery Scavenger Hunts will be held two more times during the city’s anniversary — one at the UTTC International Powwow from September 9-11 and the Downtown Street Fair from September 16-17. More information about them can be found on this page.

A Yondar representative shows a community member how to use the service to participate in the scavenger hunt inside the Former Governor’s Mansion.

Live music was also provided at the event, courtesy of John Lardinois (better known as Fiddlin’ Johnny) and his father, along with accompaniment from more local musicians. The string group played classic country and fiddle tunes dating as far back as the 1930s.

The string group with vocal accompaniment.

This social was only one of the events planned in the future for the Former Governor’s Mansion. In the coming days, more activities — especially open houses and children’s theme days — will be occurring all throughout the month and beyond.

For information about future programs from the State Historical Society of North Dakota and the Former Governor’s Mansion, visit their website.