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This page provides a NARRATIVE SUMMARY of activities and events that occurred during the 2014 Darrtown (Ohio) Bicentennial. There is also a .
Official Ohio proclamations received: The Darrtown community received best wishes in the form of official, printed proclamations from:
• Governor John Kasich and Lt. Governor Jan Taylor
• Senators Keith Faber and William Coley
Alston items displayed: Walter "Smokey" Alston and Virgil Alston sports memorabilia were displayed in the Lutheran Church Fellowship Room.
Biplane fly-over occurred: Opening ceremonies were preceded by a bi-plane fly-over.
Beckett Field proclaimed: In cooperation with the Milford Township Trustees, the ball field at E-Dot Park was named the "Don Beckett Field" in recognition of Don's tireless efforts and leadership to acquire, build, and maintain the ball diamonds at E-Dot Park.
Flag pole installed in Memorial Park: A lighted 25' flagpole was installed in the veterans' part of the village square.
Parade conducted: A parade of over 50 units began in the southeast part of Darrtown and traveled through the village, before ending at E-Dot Park.
Classic cars and vintage tractors displayed: Both E-Dot ball fields were filled with cars and tractors that drew the attention of on-lookers and photographers.
Ancestry arena attracted interest: Genealogy enthusiasts were agog at the Darrtown Family Tree exhibit which featured over 4,000 names of past and present residents of Darrtown and vicinity.
Local bands performed: Six bands from the Butler County area provided hand-clapping and toe-tapping rhythms for the enjoyment of music fans.
Auction Conducted: Doug Ross, Bobby Pieratt, and Arky Vaughn plied their auctioneering talents during the sale of items donated to the benefit of the Bicentennial fund.
Reunion Center stirred memories: Friends and families gathered to reminisce about times gone-by and to recall times not to be forgotten.
Bookmobile on site: A Lane Public Library bookmobile offered book-lending service - just like it has done for many years.
Military veterans honored: Darrtown "Medals of Honor" were presented to military veterans from Darrtown and vicinity, during the flagpole ceremony.
Pioneer village arose: Authentic tents, tools, and timeless artifacts were on display, along with exhibits of pioneer knowledge and skills.
Welcome Center flourished: Guests were greeted at the Welcome Center and invited to register.
Darrtown "post office" offered stamping: The United States Postal Service (out of Oxford, Ohio) enabled Bicentennial guests to have mail items stamped with a "Darrtown, Ohio" postmark.
Wagon rides were free: Tractors, donated by Eddie "Rock" Stang and wagons, donated by the Isaac Walton League, with seats made from bales of straw donated by John Lake, provided rides from the parking area (in a hay field provided by Jacob Taylor) to E-Dot Park, to the Darrtown cemetery, and through the villlage.
Golf cart rides were free: The Steering Committee rented golf carts to transport handicapped individuals and to run errands throughout the village.
Parachutist descended: During the opening ceremony, a parachutist delivered a softball (signed by the Steering Committee members) to be presented to Don Beckett.
Souvenir Center sold celebratory items: Commemorative postcards, walking sticks, key fobs, pavers, were among the items that reflected the spirit of the occasion.
Food was available: Eric's Pizza sold a variety of sandwiches and snacks and Leppert's Ice Cream offered cool desserts. The three Darrtown churches also sold food items;
Saturday breakfast at the Methodist church; Saturday lunch at the Baptist church;
Sunday pig roast at the Lutheran church.
People attended from far and wide: Visitors registered from 29 states and Okinawa.
Vendors and exhibitors added to the festivities: 29 display units were present in E-Dot Park.
RIGHT: This item appeared in the July 10, 2014 edition of the
electronic Darrtown Bicentennial Newsletter.
1,000 − 1,500 − 2,000…those were the estimated attendance figures tossed about by many people who attended both days of the Darrtown Bicentennial.
Warm, slight breeze, with sun most of the time, as the temperatures ran from the upper 70’s to the lower 80’s.
The positive energy from visitors, vendors, exhibitors, donors, and volunteers…WAS OUTSTANDING.
To each and every person that helped, the Bicentennial Steering Committee extends a sincere and heartfelt THANK YOU!
RIGHT: This item appeared in the July 17, 2014 edition of the
electronic Darrtown Bicentennial Newsletter.
Who came to the Bicentennial?
The estimates of attendance at the Bicentennial creep upward. Based on a review of the Welcome Center registration books, the two-day attendance is now estimated to be in the neighborhood of 2,500 to 3,000 visitors. 1,385 persons registered (several as “family”) and MANY entered the park, without signing in.
Where did all the people come from?
29 states and Okinawa, Japan were represented in the registration books. The 29 states included: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.
So, just how long was the parade?
> Number-wise - Over 50 units participated in the parade.
> Distance-wise - The parade extended over four village blocks (a little over 3/10 of a mile).
> Time-wise - Starting at 10 AM, on the east side of Darrtown, the last unit entered E-Dot Park at 11:10 AM.
> Route-wise - From the southeast part of town, the parade traveled north on East Street, west on North Street, south on Main Street, west on Schollenbarger Road, and north on West Street - ending at E-Dot Park.
So, who took unexpected pleasure in walking the parade?
Butler County Sheriff Jones walked the entire parade route and took many detours to both sides of the streets to greet on-lookers.The Bicentennial Steering Committee wishes to extend sincere appreciation to Sheriff Richard K. Jones for his support and personal participation. The Committee also salutes the numerous deputies who managed the street control/detour duty, the deputies who rode with the Mounted Horse Patrol, and the deputies who walked the entire parade route, while performing in the bagpipe unit.
Bob Ratterman essay captures spirit of Bicentennial
The Darrtown Bicentennial Steering Committee is indebted to Cox Media for printing numerous articles in area newspapers about the Darrtown Bicentennial celebration.
Contributing writer, Bob Ratterman deserves special recognition for his willingness to attend and report numerous Bicentennial related-events that occurred prior to and during the historic weekend.
The following image of the July 11, 2014 Oxford Press article, penned by Bob Ratterman, aptly portrays the Darrtown Bicentennial celebration.
Lots of positive feedback...
The following comments appeared on the Darrtown Bicentennial Facebook page and/or in e-mail messages to members of the Bicentennial Steering Committee.
▶ The people of Darrtown did a great job and I saw plenty of happy faces there. Some I have known for years and some I have never met. But I could see that everyone there enjoyed the display the people of this small town shared. Thank You for letting me share your Bicentennial with you. - John Ollis / Danville Indiana
▶ My hometown of New Richmond also had its' Bicentennial last weekend. NR's population is probably triple Darrtown's, but there is no comparison. Darrtown's preparation and execution far out did NR. - Midge Erkenbrecher.
▶ A heartfelt thank you to all who worked so long and hard to put on the greatest celebration Darrtown, OH has ever seen!!! You all did a fantastic job and created memories that will last for the rest of our lives! Thank you!!!!! - Mary Elizabeth Streit Tharp
▶ I had the best time ever. Wish there were more days like them. I would be there for every celebration. I LOVED IT. - Connie Genton Roark
▶ What a wonderful weekend; started off with the Darrtown Bicentennial Saturday; got to see a lot of old friends from the town I grew up in. - Johnny Smith
▶ I did love seeing old friends!!!!!!!!!!!! - Karen McMillian
▶ Had a great time, would be nice if Darrtown had a get together every year. - Donna Circle
▶ You all did an amazing job! Thank you! - Kathy Wengler Thacker
▶ Quite honestly I wish I had been smart enough to never leave. It is just the best place ever. - Donna M. Ward-Bottoms
▶ Thank you! A fantastic event! - Kim Ogle
▶ The event was amazing and everything turned out great. Thanks for the great memory! Tina Vrabel
▶ Thanks to you all and the Bicentennial Committee, the celebration was a big success. What beautiful weather. Thank goodness you ordered that in advance!!! The great planning and the combined work of the committee and many community people stepping forward to volunteer made for the great event. Thanks for your efforts. BTW, the Cemetery Tours were more popular than I expected. The first tour at 2:00 PM was packed and took two wagons to transport everybody. If you want, you can put on the Website that I will give tours to individuals who missed the event, by calling me and arranging a time. Great job everybody! - Rebecca Evans
▶ Thank you Darrtown for allowing me to be a part of the bicentennial. It was great seeing people that had not seen each other for years, to hug and talk about the old times. I would encourage you to keep on, call it a "homecoming". You have most of the ground work for such an event. BIG THANKS! to all... - Alan Dunkleberger
▶ Although I was not able to personally attend the Darrtown reunion, I have talked with several people who were there. They all spoke very highly of the work you did to bring this event to fruition and of the wonderful response from across the country. Thank you for organizing this event and for your on-going dedication to maintaining the history of this vital community. - Kay Weiss
▶ This is from Jean Kelly Beasley. What a fantastic job the committee did! It was a tremendous success in our opinion…we arrived at 10:30 Sunday for a stroll around town and on to the great pig roast lunch. The entire community and both old and new residents owe you so much for all the work you did. We have a new pride in being from Darrtown! We will add the honor medal to our Dad’s WWII medals, and other keepsakes. What a great surprise for all the vets and spouses. Our deep appreciation for making us proud. Thank you again for that brick you donated. - Charles and Jean Beasley
▶ Thrilled to see Don Beckett honored for all he has done for Darrtown at the Darrtown Bicentennial. Excellent job everyone! Great day! Lots of tears for a great man!! - Sarah Bruhn Hogeback
▶ Saw some great friends at the Darrtown Bicentennial last weekend. - Janet Finkbine Pater
▶ What an amazing weekend!!! We worked our butts off, but still managed to enjoy every second of it. I loved seeing so many old friends this weekend! Thank you so much to all of the people who worked so hard to make this weekend happen, so we could celebrate this awesome town of ours. Darrtown should have a celebration every year. :) - Monica McCall
▶ Congratulations to all! What a wonderful event! Your efforts and hard work are appreciated by all the citizens of Darrtown and beyond! Thanks to Kathy, Debbie, Janet and Marsha for their support and hard work! I very much appreciate the opportunity to have been part of this wonderful weekend! Thank you! - Sandy Ward Jolivette
▶ I am sure you have heard this already, but the weekend was fantastic! Thanks for all the hard work. We really enjoyed everything and met a lot of new friends! Thanks again! - Mike & Leslie Botts
▶ Has there been any thought of doing an annual 1-day event? Not as large as the bicentennial, but something at the park, a big grill-out, a few bands, and some vendors? Maybe a couple of softball games or home run derby on Don Beckett field? Just to bring the town together. There aren't many small towns around anymore that are worth much and I think this was really good for Darrtown. - Chris Meador
▶ I was there for the first half today before flying back to Florida. It was a great celebration and seeing childhood friends. - Kristi Coombs
▶ It was great... you really should have a yearly festival, start the tradition. - Ruth Ann Felblinger
▶ I had a great time, thanks to all the people that made this possible ! Tom Jessie
▶ Ronnie and I had such a good time seeing and visiting with everyone we saw!! Lots of good friends and memories!!! Great job!! - Debbie Truett Hansel
▶ Thank you so much! More than 50 Harris Family members attended the various events, and they all had a marvelous time! All your careful preparation really paid off! Sibyl Harris Miller
▶ I loved being there in my "Home Town". I think I could live there again. Maybe after I retire I can come home for the summer & fall each year. Then head south after the first snowfall. Sounds like a perfect plan. - Elaine Russell Secula
▶ This certainly was a huge success. Saw so many people I hadn't seen for years....even some I hadn't seen since school days. My friend, Fay, who came all the way from California, had a wonderful time. - Jewel Yauger Hayes
▶ Happy 200th Birthday Darrtown Bicentennial! Proud to be a part of it!! - Kelly Hansel
▶ I want to thank everyone responsible for the event. I had a great time. It was so good to meet up with old friends and to make new ones. - Terry Genton
▶ I want to say “Bravo” to you and the Darrtown Bicentennial Committee, you did a really fabulous job organizing the event. Myself, my friends and family all had a great time. It felt like a really big family reunion!! I wanted to introduce myself to you many times over the weekend but you were so very busy that I didn’t want to interrupt. I hope you’re getting some much deserved rest this week. I know how tired I am and I was just a spectator. Again thank you for all your hard work. - Christine Gross
It started with a phone call...
Like the ripple effect that emanates from a pebble being dropped into a pool of water, a phone call, in the summer of 2010, between two life-long friends, who shared a mutual affection for Darrtown and its history, triggered a series of decisions and action-steps that produced an amazing celebration of "Darr's Town" 200th birthday.
Soon after that telephone conversation, a "survey of interest" meeting was held; a steering committee was formed; plans were developed; funds were generated; volunteers were recruited; activities were scheduled; and in the end, a celebration was held.
The following items describe what happened at the 2014 Darrtown Bicentennial ... and how people felt about it afterward.
It is a daunting task to attempt to write a summary of an event that was as large and involved, as the 2014 Darrtown Bicentennial.
And, yet, ... it seems that a record must be written - to preserve the story of how so many people donated time, energy, and resources toward creating a community-wide event that instilled, renewed, or maintained a sense of pride in the village that Conrad Darr established 200 years previous - April 4, 1814.
It ended with a glorius celebration...