July 3, 2003
Weekend offers plethora of events
This 4th of July weekend at the Yellow Springs bicentennial celebration, local residents will have many opportunities to celebrate their town and their history with a packed schedule of events, including a parade, exhibits, reunions and music, music and more music.
“We want to share as much history as possible with as many people as possible so that the village might better understand, savor and remember its stories,” said Mary Morgan, a member of the Yellow Springs Historical Society, which organized the weekend of events.
Kicking off the celebration will be a folk and blues acoustic concert tonight (Thursday), at the Little Art Theatre. Featured performers Thursday night will be local folk singer David Schumacher, blues guitarist George Bieri and cowboy singer Pop Wagner. Tickets are $6.50 for adults, $5 for children and seniors.
Greg “Duke” Dewey who, with Tim Eschliman, organized the weekend’s music events, grew up in Yellow Springs and moved back here several years ago. He links his lifelong love of music to his Yellow Springs childhood, when he saw world-class performers at Antioch College and he and his friends continually jammed together.
More than anything, Dewey hopes to create this weekend an opportunity not only for those who enjoy listening to good music but also for those who like to play. To that end, he encourages all amateur musicians to bring their instruments Thursday night and join in. “I hope it turns into a huge jam,” he said.
Bringing people together to celebrate is also the aim of Beth Holyoke, who is organizing the 4th of July bicentennial parade Friday morning.
Overall, the parade is “a good reason for villagers to come together and have a good time,” Holyoke said.
Parade participants will meet at 11 a.m. at The Antioch Company parking lot, then march down Dayton Street to Limestone to Xenia Avenue and then to the Bryan Community Center. Those who don’t want to travel the entire route can join the parade at Mills Lawn School.
Huge puppets of Horace Mann and Helen Birch Bartlett, the namesake of Glen Helen, will march in the parade, as will children from the YS Kids Playhouse, members of Central Chapel A.M.E. Church and local Cub Scouts. Antioch School students will ride unicycles, a vintage car will carry 95-year-old villager Clara Stancliff, Mayor David Foubert will ride in a golf cart, and the Yellow Rockers square dance group will do-si-do in the back of a flatbed truck.
Other parade participants will include local residents dressed in historical costumes, a variety of vintage cars and representatives from local organizations, including Tecumseh Land Trust and the Yellow Springs Community Foundation. Village Council members will ride in Bob Baldwin’s convertible, Christian Center members will ride on a float and Yellow Springs Community Band members will toot their horns from a truck.
But no one needs a float or an historical costume to participate, and Holyoke encourages everyone to take part in the parade. All they need to do is show up.
“It’s always been the goal to have more people in the parade than watching it,” she said. Parade sponsors include the Community Foundation, the Yellow Springs Arts Council and the Antioch College Theater Department.
To encourage participation, Holyoke will provide streamers to anyone who shows up Friday morning, and she has lots of extra puppets people could carry, she said.
After the parade, Pop Wagner will perform at the Bryan Center to about 2 p.m.
The festivities will continue with more music Friday afternoon, this time electrified. In front of Peach’s Grill, a lineup of local bands and musicians will perform in an electric music party beginning at 2 p.m. Leading off will be the local punk rock band Five Foot Setback, and other performers will include the band Achille’s Heel. A “townie jam” will include, among others, musicians Nerak Roth Patterson, Tucki Bailey, Carl Schumacher, Nick Dewey, Kimathi Asante, Tim Eschliman and Gerry Green. The performances will end at about 7:30 p.m., so that people can see the annual fireworks display at Gaunt Park, which is sponsored by the Lions Club.
Following the fireworks at about 10 p.m., jazz musician Tucki Bailey will perform at Peach’s.
Festivities continue on Saturday, with a daylong series of events.
Beginning at 10 a.m., a banquet of activities will take place outside and in the Bryan Center gym. Inside, villagers can view about 20 historical exhibits organized by Bill Mullins.
Outside, mimes and a harmonica player will roam the lawn, where local churches and Young’s Jersey Dairy will sell refreshments. Planned events will be held inside tents and will include performances by musicians Heartstrings, the Yellow Springs Buzzards, the Bicentennial Strings, led by Shirley Mullins, the Bicentennial Chorus, directed by Ruth Bent, dancers Valerie Blackwell-Truitt and Elizabeth Price, the Yellow Rockers square dance group and magician Bill Alexander.
Villagers can also visit outdoor historical displays, and there will be large and small tents for “resting and meeting old friends,” Morgan said.
Later, at Peach’s, the music continues from 5:30 to closing with a rock, blues and R&B showcase, featuring the Natural Facts blues band, Paul’s Apartment, the Reptile Brothers (Greg and Nick Dewey, plus Bailey), Eschliman, Carl Schumacher and others. The event costs $6, or $5 for seniors.
Throughout the weekend, local high school classes will be holding reunions, organizer June Varner said. The Bryan High School Classes from 1958 through 1964 will hold several events, including a Friday night picnic, a Saturday morning bike ride and a Saturday night sock hop at the Bryan Center, which is open to all with a $4 charge. DJ Phil Weber will preside at the dance.
The Yellow Springs High School Class of 1968 will hold its 35th reunion, organized by Julie Steinhilber, and the Class of 1965 will also gather, organized by Dawn Clark.
The weekend’s events will conclude on Sunday, July 6, with a choir fest and hymn sing at the Yellow Springs United Methodist Church. The event, to which all local churches have been invited to participate, is intended “to honor the role of churches in Yellow Springs history,” organizer Faith Skidmore said. Everyone is welcome to attend.
The bicentennial events are the culmination of more than a year of planning by the Yellow Springs Historical Society, Morgan said. The group received a grant from the Yellow Springs Community Foundation as well as support from The Antioch Company, Steve Rumbaugh of the Propaganda Mill, and many other local organizations, churches and businesses, Morgan said.
Overall, she said, “We wish most of all that people will carry home memories that will continue to warm their hearts and souls.”