Sometimes things are over before you know it and this year, that certainly seemed to be the case to the organizers who had spent months planning and organizing this year’s annual Harlem Township Days community festival. By noon on Monday, August 19, there was hardly any evidence left in the Community Park that it had been bustling with activity over the weekend.
And bustle it did. Participants began to arrive mid-afternoon on Friday, the 16th, while the organizing committee was hard at work setting up tents and tables and marking out the spaces vendors would occupy. The influx of people and things continued on into Friday evening and by 10 a.m. on Saturday, when it was time for the parade to start, everything was in place: antique tractors, historical and educational exhibitors, food and item vendors, bounce houses and games for the kids, the Boy Scout camp, children’s petting zoo –- everything.
As always, the parade was wonderful, an opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate our township seniors who spent their lives making Harlem Township the wonderful place it is for us today. The parade was led by Grand Marshal, Shelby Garee, our 94 year old lifetime resident farmer. Following him in convertibles were: Mildred Irwin age 97, Donna Feazel age 95, Marjorie Cook age 93, and WWII veteran Paul August age 90. Last year’s Grand Marshal, John Barnhart followed the convertibles in his Corvette and led the next group of honorees, those between 80 and 90. The first section of that group rode in the newly painted Harlem Road UMC wagon. Riders included Mary Lou Piper, Beth Edwards, Ruth Baird, Amy Groseclose, Connie and Eldon Sager, Mary Jane Fisher, Eloise Collier, and Dee Buell. The last group of honorees, Bob Dell (and wife Bertie), Jimmy and Marie Stewart, and Gene and Rachel Piper, rode in an eight passenger golf cart. Other participants in the parade included Ron Bruce driving his 1968 military ambulance, the Harlem Road UMC Day Care, Boy Scouts, and others.
On the east side of Route 605, the tractor pull got underway about 11 a.m. on Saturday and went on most of the day. There were many favorable comments about moving the pull to the east side of the road. On the west side, the Harlem Township Firestorm vintage baseball team gave the Ohio Village Muffins a run for their money this year with the final score 11 to 8. The word is, "Next year we take ’em."
There was activity all over the park, people visiting the beautiful quilt show in the Community Room of the Firehouse, viewing the displays and art and agricultural contest entries in the Maintenance Building (winners for both in a separate article), walking through the Soil Tunnel, stopping to visit the Big Walnut Area Historical Society and Hanby House displays, talking to the owners of the antique tractors (and on Sunday the owners of the collectible cars), stopping to visit with members of the Grove family who were having a reunion during the festival, and, of course, visiting the food and item vendors.
Entertainment began in the tent at 3 p.m. on Saturday and went on throughout the weekend. The youthful entertainers/demonstrators, Taekwondo and fencing, were big hits with the crowd and many kids got to try their hands at fencing. A hit with the older crowd on Sunday was our Mark Twain re-enactor who was engaging and told wonderful stories. All of the entertainers were very good – Hey Joe Magic, the children’s magician; the Amazing Giants who turned a jump rope for kids to try; the Fire Department car extraction demonstration; Allison Dawson, our local vocalist; the Buckeye State Harmonica Club; the Keller Brothers who opened their performance with "Here’s to Our Harlem High School", the alma mater/fight song from the school that had previously occupied the park grounds; Yasmilah the very energetic and engaging belly dancer; and Ralph Arms the Native American re-enactor who finished out the weekend’s entertainment by telling the audience the story of the Leni Lenape, the Delaware Indians who were inhabiting this area when the settlers came. An independent entertainer some visitors may have seen was Gary Davis from Galena who wandered the park showing people his flowers whittled from a piece of branch. He made the process look easy.
Children visiting the celebration had the opportunity to bounce in the bounce houses, ride the big trikes, and participate in a scavenger hunt – for a prize. Thirty-six children completed the hunt and received a free scoop of ice cream or glass of lemonade, only one chose a slice of watermelon. Four of the Boy Scouts tried the geo-scavenger hunt and found it challenging and fun. On Saturday about a dozen children listened to stories about Lucy Fancher and then were joined by a few more for the cake walk which was set up by the Maintenance Building. On Sunday about thirty children dug in the sandpile for "treasure", quarters buried in the sand. One of the high spots for everyone who was around on Sunday afternoon was a brief visit by Diana Robertson, our committee member who had missed the final push of getting things done for the celebration due to an unexpected stroke. She was driven around the park by Rusty Bell on his golf cart.
Overall, the 2013 Harlem Township Days was a wonderful event, a lot of work for those who planned and organized it, but hopefully, something of worth to the community. The word is – we’ll do it again next year, and we’d love to get more people from the community involved. If you’re interested, come to one of our Harlem Township Heritage meetings, second Thursday of each month, or contact Vicki Tieche at 740-965-4535.
AND THE WINNERS WERE: There were contests at Harlem Township Days this year, and when you have contests, you always have winners. Thanks to everyone who contributed and congratulations to everyone on the lists below!
QUILT SHOW IN THE COMMUNITY ROOM OF THE FIREHOUSE:
Antique Quilts Made Before 1950 (two groups)
1st places ($10): Val Pedersen and Belinda P. Mortesha
2nd places ($5): Diana Robertson and Betty Kenney
3rd places: Lynda O’Quinn and Alice Neiglets
Old Quilts, 1951 to 1980 (one group)
1st place ($10): Lynda O’Quinn
2nd place ($5): Peggy Cahill
3rd place: Ruth Baird
New Quilts, 1981 to Present (two groups)
1st places ($10): Eloise Collier and Betty Fyffe
2nd places ($5): Jan Poderys and Arlene Kitchen
3rd places: Arlene Kitchen and Betty Fyffe
MAINTENANCE BUILDING CONTESTS – ART AND AGRICULTURE (all $5 prizes):
Size and Weight Classes:
Viewer’s Choice Classes:
Art Contests – All Viewer’s Choice
TRACTOR PULL AND TRACTOR SHOW:
Visit the Past Events page under the Events tab above to read more about past Township Days celebrations.