A special day on their annual calendar, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West has always celebrated their namesake’s February 26 birthday—this year, William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody’s 171st. But 2017 holds even greater significance for the Center as it marks its own 100th birthday.
The Centennial edition of Buffalo Bill’s Birthday Bash takes place Friday, February 24, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. and includes free admission to the Center of the West all day long. “Cody’s family and friends formed the Buffalo Bill Memorial Association, our parent organization, soon after his death on January 10, 1917,” says Bruce Eldredge, the Center’s Executive Director and CEO. “To still be in operation today is a testament to Buffalo Bill’s legacy—that love for, and commitment to, the Spirit of the American West.”
In addition to free admission, the party kicks off with the popular Buffalo Bill Band playing all the hits from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, 3–5 p.m. At the same time, printer Mike Parker sets up his printing press to create commemorative Centennial bookmarks for attendees.
“And, in honor of our Centennial, we actually open a time capsule,” adds Plains Indian Museum Curator Rebecca West, Centennial chairman. “We’re as curious as our friends are to discover what’s inside. Join us at 4 p.m., and we’ll find out together!”
With the basketball matchup of cross-county rivals Cody and Powell taking place the same day, the Center invites fans to tailgate “Center of the West style.” Free food, birthday cake, and cash bar are available after 3 p.m.
The Center’s annual Buffalo Bill Birthday Bash is part of a weekend of activities celebrating Buffalo Bill’s birthday in Cody, Wyoming. Earlier on Friday, Cody High School’s FFA students place a commemorative wreath at the Scout statue with a ceremony that begins at 11 a.m. Then on Saturday, February 25, Cody’s Knights of Columbus host their annual Buffalo Bill Birthday Ball beginning at 5 p.m.
Follow the Center of the West’s online calendar for all its special events.
Since 1917, the award-winning Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming, has devoted itself to sharing the story of the authentic American West. The Center is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. For additional information, visit centerofthewest.org or the Center’s pages on Facebook and Google+.