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Wally Byam birthday party at Baker Heritage Museum Special

By Scott Ungerecht     Jul 5, 2011 in Lifestyle
Baker City - On the morning of July 4, the Baker Heritage Museum in Baker City, Oregon was packed with about 50 guests as they gathered to celebrate the 115th birthday of Wally Byam, the man who invented the Airstream Trailer and its caravan clubs.
The 4th of July was the last day of a 4-day Airstream Trailer caravan event in Baker City that attracted approximately 70 Airstream owners from across the US and Canada.
The Airstream owners had gathered to make knew friends, meet other trailer owners, listen to special guest lectures, and visit a special Wally Byam exhibit that was on display at the Baker Heritage Museum.
Inside the museum, a beautiful single-layer birthday cake sat on a large table along one side of a small room. The cake was decorated with red, white and blue frosting and was shaped like a square American flag.
The words “Happy Birthday Wally Byam” were clearly written in blue frosting on the surface of the cake. There were also three Happy Birthday helium balloons floating in the air while attached to the side of the table by ribbons.
The main guest of honor at the party was Dale “Pee Wee” Schwamborn who is Wally Byam's cousin. Although Mr. Byam died in 1962, Mr. Schwamborn gave a lecture about his cousin at the Baker Heritage Museum on July 3. During his lecture, he told the audience that Mr. Byam loved celebrating his birthday every year because he was born on the 4th of July.
Several guests who were in attendance at the birthday celebration, openly commented about how unfortunate it was that Wally Byam couldn't be with them today. They said Mr. Byam would have loved the cake and enjoyed celebrating his birthday with them.
One of the guests happened to be a young couple who were riding bicycles from California to Washington, D.C. They didn't know about the Airstream caravan or that it was Wally Byam's birthday. The couple had just arrived in Baker City to visit the Baker Heritage Museum and stumbled across the celebration by accident.
The young man of the couple was a freelance photographer. He had two large digital cameras hanging around his neck and a small DVD camcorder in his hand. He was using his camcorder to record what was happening in the room. He also took some pictures of the cake before the event started.
Suddenly, Baker Heritage Museum Director Chris Cantrell walked behind the cake, faced the guests, and announced that everyone should sing the traditional Happy Birthday song to Wally Byam. A few people started to laugh as the whole room started singing Happy Birthday to Mr. Byam.
The freelance photographer from California stood in one corner of the room and filmed the action with his DVD camcorder.
When the singing had finished, Mrs. Cantrell picked up a large knife and began slicing into the cake. At that moment, a dozen people pulled out their digital cameras and starting taking pictures of Mrs. Cantrell and the cake as everyone swarmed closer to get a slice of the dessert.
It took about 15-minutes to serve everyone in the room a slice of the birthday cake. As soon as people received their slices, they immediately left and went outside to enjoy the warm sunshine and beautiful skies. By the time the cake was completely gone, Mrs. Cantrell appeared to be a little exhausted from her work. However, she never broke a sweat or stopped smiling throughout the entire event.
Several of the guests took pictures of Dale Schwamborn and the other Airstream owners who were attending the celebration. Everyone appeared to be happy, laughing, telling jokes or stories, and truly enjoying the joyous spirit of the occasion.
Within 30-minutes, the celebration was over. All the guests left the museum with some great memories, including an unexpected young couple from California who are now riding their bicycles toward the capital of the US on a special caravan of their own. Something Wally Byam might have appreciated.
More about wally byam, Baker city, Oregon, baker heritage museum, chris cantrell
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