Orem is putting the pieces together for a yearlong centennial celebration starting with the year’s kickoff at noon Saturday at the Orem Recreation Center, 580 W. 165 South.
A program will be held from noon to 1 p.m. with activities, prizes and fun between 1 and 4 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend and start celebrating a year of events.
Part of the kickoff includes the unveiling of a limited-edition, 500-piece puzzle designed by popular local artist Eric Dowdle.
Orem commissioned Dowdle a year ago to come up with art that would reflect the past, present and future of the city. According to Ryan Clark, economic development director and Centennial Committee chairman, Dowdle did an amazing job.
“I thought it turned out better than expected,” Clark said. “He really got to know the city.”
Dowdle, who has done around 350 cities’ puzzles said working with Orem and residents was one of his best experiences.
“Orem was smoother than all others. It’s the gold standard,” Dowdle said. “It’s the classiest organization. My job would be so fun if everyone was like this. I’m so impressed.”
Like any artist, Dowdle said he could have worked on the puzzle art for another month, and there were more things he could add.
“Working with Eric and his team to produce this masterpiece has been a pleasure,” said Steven Downs, city spokesman. “This will be a fun piece of Orem history for years to come.”
What Dowdle did add will be a treat for any Orem resident to go looking for. The puzzle does have a legend of sorts that includes pointing out everything from the old Bill and Iva’s Café and Walker-Sanderson Funeral Home, to every mayor in Orem’s history, the current City Council and the late LaVell Edwards, an Orem favorite son.
After receiving the list of what should be in the painting, Dowdle’s artists came together to collaborate. After the design was in place, it took him three months painting every day to complete the piece.
The fun part is finding some of the hidden “Easter eggs” in the puzzle art. Not to give anything away, but try to find the Macey’s grocery store’s famous Kong Cone ice cream cone. Dowdle says it’s there. You might also find Brigham Young, Gov. Gary Herbert and several other prominent business and community leaders.
As part of the centennial promotion, the puzzles will be sold exclusively through the city’s centennial website, https://100.orem.org, for $19.19, reflecting the year Orem was established. Pre-orders are being taken now.
Orem resident Alan Osmond has written a new song for the city centennial, and his son David Osmond is performing it, according to Kathi Beckett, committee co-chairman.
As part of the fun, Beckett said there will be alligator wrestling, obstacle courses, air brush body art and Lego building.
There will also be arts and crafts and live music and much more. Individuals and families are invited to be a part of this first of many centennial events.
Looking ahead, a big birthday party bash will be held on Saturday, May 4. The actual city birthday is May 5. More information will be released on this and other events as they get closer. Events will continue through the summer at Summerfest and with a large finale celebration party ending the centennial in December.