Harlem Township Days 2012 is now history, but it was another wonderful community event, and this year, the weather completely cooperated -- no pop-up showers.
The "Days" began with tractor registrations on Saturday morning and closed with car show awards on Sunday afternoon. Highlights of the individual activities and events are given in the following paragraphs with attached pictures. General pictures and pictures of some of the people attending our celebration are viewable here.
The official opening of the weekend was a parade honoring our over 50 year township residents over the age of 80. John Barnhard was asked to be the Grand Marshal and lead the parade even though he hadn’t lived in the township for many years, but, there probably wouldn’t still be a Harlem High Alumni Banquet or the Harlem Boys Breakfast Club if it weren’t for John. (He also donated some of his township land for expansion of Fancher Cemetery). John led the parade in his Corvette Convertible. The four over 90 year olds, Mildred Irwin, 96; Donna Feazel, 94; Shelby Garee, 93; and Marjorie Cook, 92, rode in convertibles with one of their children riding with them. Following them was Bernie Stockwell and his wife riding in his red convertible. The next group of 80+ year olds rode in a percheron pulled wagon: Bob and Velma Tschakert, Eloise Collier, Mary Jane Fisher, Dee Buell, Beth Edwards, Amy Groseclose, and Ruth Baird. The final group, the kids, rode on a tractor pulled shuttle wagon: Gene and Rachel Piper, Bob Dell, Nancy Cordell, Harold and Dorothy Rannebarger, and Jim and Marie Stewart (but Marie missed getting on when it was ready to start up and wouldn’t let them stop for her.) There were several residents from each age group who weren’t able to join the parade: Lucille Hursey, Mary Lou Klamfoth Piper, Norman and Layla Evans, Stella Garrabrant, Hazel Burnett, and Cora Myers.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you should have been honored in the 2012 parade and we missed you, please contact Diana Robertson at the Harlem Road Church so we can get you in the list for next year. Next year we are also planning to add any World War II veterans living in the township regardless of how long they have lived here or from Harlem Township during the war.
Following the honorees were a mix of other people and things: the Harlem Church of Christ in Christian Union Children’s Theater group, Boy Scouts, Civil War re-enactors, tractors, kids dressed up as book characters on a tractor-pulled wagon, and an attraction that caused a problem, a calliope on a truck bed. No one thought about how high it was and how high the electric extension cord we had running to the main tent was and the calliope caught it and brought it down. Luckily another of the parade members, Matt Jergens (the juggler walking on stilts) was able to get it back up for us. A comment made about the parade was "Everyone in it looked like they were king or queen for a day." The parade was definitely a big success.
This was the seventh year for the antique tractor and machinery display and it was a huge success. This year’’s show was larger than the one held during the Bicentennial with forty full size tractors and sixteen other pieces of equipment for a total of fifty-six units on display, not including the number of tractors that came just to pull. And there was a variety of tractors ranging from McCormick Deering and Minneapolis-Moline to the more common John Deeres and Allis Chalmers. The line of red, green, and orange tractors with an occasional gray one mixed in was an impressive sight. In the center of the field near the road was a display of working stationary engines making their popping sounds as they operated. The machinery display people were very pleased with their locations on the field.
The three tractor pull classes on Saturday were viewed by spectators coming and going for all of the approximately seven hours that it was going on. The number of participants in the pulls was also up with a number of ’newbies’ participating in the fun pull. The light weight class of the fun pull was won by Sean Marsee on a Farmall Cub and the heavyweight class was won by John Yeagle on a Cockshutt 40. On Sunday there was a tractor slow race for entertainment that was won by Dave Irwin. Gene Piper won the Peoples Choice Machinery Award for his most popular tractor displayed.
There were a number of educational, historical, and community exhibitors around the park. Mulch First had a display advertising their fall event near the entrance to the park and Weaver Barns had a small barn set up which we were able to use for information and tractor event needs. The Harlem Township Fire Department once again had their fire safety house and first aid station near the front entrance. Beside the fire department, Boy Scout Forge Garrabrant had set up a table to tell people about his Eagle project to raise enough money to buy a defibrillator to be housed at the Harlem Road Methodist Church, which is one of the emergency shelters for the township.
At the west end of the field, Lenape Native American re-enactor, Ralph Arms, had set up his authentic tent constructed on a base of curved small sapling pieces. Ralph awed some people with his black painted face and attire. To the south and inside the track, the Boy Scout had set up their camp with tents and an example of their lashed together tent construction.
The southwest corner of the field was once again occupied by the Rosecrans Unit Civil War re-enactors with their Army of the Cumberland camp. The Big Walnut Historical Society and the Hanby House from Westerville set up beside the Rosecrans Unit so the corner was a very colorful hub-bub of Civil War era dress and activity. The Big Walnut Historical Society was pleased they sold several bricks, one of the ways they are raising money for the statue of General Rosecrans that will be erected on the Sunbury Square.
East of the historic corner, the Northeast Christian Church had a tent on Saturday and the Harlem Guys and Gals had a tent with their animal projects set up on Sunday. And on Sunday, Thomas Grooms, a maker of prehistoric pottery reproductions, set up a tent near the northwest corner of the field and attracted some curious visitors.
In the past years, several people have said we should have pieces of modern farm equipment for people to be able to look at up close. This year, Jackson Farms brought a 4WD, articulated tractor and a combine which were placed in front of the Maintenance Building along Rich Drive. A very interesting and poignant sight early on Saturday morning was 93 year old Shelby Garee who rode up on his motorized scooter to see the giant equipment –- so different from the equipment he had used when he started farming years ago.
On Saturday from noon until 2pm, local authors Courtney Rene and Tom Nelson were set up at the entrance to the building with books to sell in a ’Meet the Author’ format.
We had our regular educational and historical displays in the Maintenance Building, several put in by guests. Ed Miller of Delaware-Morrow Soil and Water Conservation District had a display on watershed management; Kyle Davis, a Big Walnut student put in his award winning science fair project on Song Sparrows; the Westerville Historical Society had an attractive display on Westerville and the Temperance Movement but were only able to have it up on Saturday; the Community Library once again had a display and helped anyone interested with genealogical research.
Harlem Township was well represented in the displays with "A Tribute to Our Early Settlers" with information on the Ohio Historical Marker which will be erected on Gorsuch Road near the site of the Cook sawmill on the Benajah Cook farm. Other Harlem Township displays included one on Cemetery Projects undertaken and completed in 2012, Activities of the Harlem Township Heritage group, Invasive Plants, and six trifolds on Harlem Township’s involvement in the Civil War. On Sunday, Jeff Groseclose spent a lot of time looking at the Civil War display. The Groseclose family has put the flags on all the military graves in the township since JackGroseclose came back from WWII. Jeff said "I’ve put flags on those graves for years and always wondered about them." He pointed at the display, "Now the names mean something ... Garlinghouse, Hubble ..." (both of whom died in the Civil War).
We ended up with an unscheduled display when Donna Evans brought an old quilt with names of Harlem Township residents up to the building. She didn’t know what the history of it was; her parents had had it. The names ranged from Ray and Verna McElwee to Bob Atwood. The consensus by the end of the weekend was that the quilt (and others like it) had been made by the Grange about 1950 as a fundraiser with people buying the squares their names were in. Interesting the history we don’t remember.
We had fifteen art and agricultural contests in the Maintenance Building, some judged by size and some judged by viewer’s choice. In the adult by size contests, Rick Garrabrant won the first for largest glacial boulder, Cathy Neja won first for biggest zucchini, Lurley Hernandez biggest tomato and biggest sunflower, Joni Manson biggest pie pumpkin, and Dwight Piper heaviest ear of field corn and heaviest soybeans. In the art contests, Vicki Tieche won the firsts for painted gourd and three dimensional art, Betty Johnson won the firsts for all three flower arrangements and for Group B of two dimensional art, Jennifer Tieche won first for Group A of two dimensional art, Joni Manson won first for Group A of Photography, and Jackie Mackie won the first for Photography Group B. There were a lot of nice entries in the contests.
The last class was children’s art, which was not judged, all the children received a participant’s ribbon and a small prize. There were twenty pictures displayed, most of which had been made at the art workshop earlier in the month.
There were ten food and beverage vendors lined up to come to Harlem Township Days this year, but some of them only came for one day. Theresa Dronsfield of Paradise Lemonade estimated the size of the crowd for the two day event at fifteen hundred based on the number of cases of lemons she’d used.(Interesting measurement tool.) In addition to her highly decorative stand, R&N Concessions (Radabaugh) had two vending areas, one with popular funnel cakes. Miller’s Ice Cream served their delicious ice cream, and Brad’s Barbeque was visited enough he ran out of food on Sunday. Harlem Road Church had their pie tent set up beside Miller’s Ice Cream, D&S Kettle Corn was set up near the Maintenance Building, but moved closer to the field during the day on Saturday (as did R&R Flavor Train). The Boy Scouts also had water and drinks to sell and the Harlem Church of Christ in Christian Union offered roasting ears to customers on Sunday. Lots of good eats.
Jewelry was in abundance this year with Barbara’s Jewelry and knick-knacks, BeadDazzle, Jacob’s Jewelry, and Tieche Designs with jewelry and etched glass. Edible items vendors included the very popular Virgil’s Jerky, Cedar Hill Farms honey and applebutter, Schoolhouse Jams & Fudge, The Cheese Lady, Donations for Downs with baked goods, and the Harlem Church of Christ in Christian Union with farm produce and Amish baked goods. In the almost food category, Doggie Delicacies had treats for canines for sale. Other vendors included Lisa & Jo’s Leatherworking, Living Earth Art Glass, Orchard Canyon Heirlooms(tinware), Peyton’s Primitives (knapped arrowheads), Rengel Bros. Woodworking, and Sweet Bee Soaps. Author Courtney Rene had a table set up with the Harlem Church of Christ in Christian Union on Saturday and Fantasy Facepainting was set up both days by the children’s activity area.
The Harlem Church of Christ in Christian Union was in charge of children’s activities but received some excellent help from Tiffany Miller and the Harlem Road Christian Pre-School and Daycare. Fantasy Facepainting was also located in the children’s area. It was easy to tell facepainting was very popular by all the done up children walking around the track. The Kiddie Pedal Pull was well attended with eighteen children particpating which was more than the norm of fifteen. No information was received on how the cake walk at noon on Saturday went, but it’s expected that it was successful.
On Saturday after the parade, Matt Jergens, the juggler performed in the main tent and the tractor pull started to the tunes of The Calliope King, Myron Duffield. Quite a combination. After the entertainment openers, Pete Conrad of the Traveling Beatleburys performed in the main tent followed by several Civil War presentations. In mid-afternoon, Allison Dawson, a Big Walnut High School student, sang and was very good. She was followed by a Korean Martial Arts demonstration. The final event of the day was square and line dancing called by John Wargowsky of Delaware.
On Sunday following a pancake breakfast served up by Chris Cakes, we had a car show, our traditional open air church service, and a vintage baseball game. The ball game was followed by Sean Erickson, an easy listening singer, awards and car show awards, and a scheduled medical helicopter landing. Separate write-ups about the car show and baseball game follow.
The car show was sponsored by Nationwide Insurance (the Marla Evans Agency in Sunbury) with help from Eagle Insurance Agency (BG Evans). Mom, Donna Evans, took care of all the arrangements and pretty much handled everything. The car show was a tremendous addition to the weekend and there was a wide variety of old and classic cars for visitors to look at.
One of our events on Sunday was an 1860’s vintage baseball game between the Ohio Historical Society’s Ohio Village Muffins in their red-accented uniforms and our township team, nicknamed Firestorm since many of the players were members of the Fire Department, wearing blue accents. The vintage game had interesting rules – no cleats, no spitting, no cussing, no gloves, no sliding, and balls caught on the first bounce are outs. Even thought the Harlem Township team played valiantly, the final score was Muffins 21 and Firestorm 5. The Muffins told us that the game had had one of the best crowds they’d had all season. During the event the Boy Scouts sold popcorn, peanuts, and cracker jacks to the spectators. There were no accidents or injuries during the game although one of the foul balls went flying through a vendor’s display of etched glass. All in all it was a very memorable and enjoyable event.