Barnesville celebrates

BARNESVILLE is a “celebrating kind of town,” and that’s evident in the 2009 calendar produced by The Watt Center for History and the Arts.

“Barnesville just likes celebrations. If there is an occasion, there’s a celebration or a parade,” said Beverly Hannahs, who had charge of this year’s calendar titled, “Celebrating Barnesville’s Celebrations.”

The Barnesville Pumpkin Festival is a popular event every year, but the town didn’t shirk in the early part of the 20th century before that event ever came into being.

Pictures and information from the Barnesville Centennial in 1808 is the January 2009 feature in the calendar which ends with the Bicentennial now being observed.

Several parades were held during the Centennial, but the flower parade, according to the Barnesville Enterprise, was “the crowning event.” It drew a crowd of 15,000, and “the beauty of the flower bedecked automobiles and carriages, lovely and handsome gowned ladies passed through the streets in a blaze of light that made the old town a veritable Fairy land.”

Hannahs said she enjoyed seeing the pictures from the Centennial and mentioned the vehicles and conveyances covered with flowers. She also commented on the work necessary to prepare for that parade.

Noting that she like to read about the musical during the village’s Sesquicentennial in 1958, Hannahs said hundreds of people were involved. “That’s quite an undertaking for a town this size,” she added.

The 1940 Homecoming, sometimes called Pioneer Days, also is featured, and many storefronts were covered with a rustic finish to resemble log cabins. Another celebration focusing on Barnesville is the village’s 175th Jubilee in 1983, and others include the Pumpkin Festival and the village’s patriotism.

Ohio’s 150th anniversary in 1953, the United States Bicentennial in 1776, the Belmont County Bicentennial in 2001 and the Ohio Bicentennial in 2003 also gain attention in the calendar.

In addition to photos, programs, news clippings and badges help to bring out the importance of the activities as well as joy associated with the celebrations.

Hannahs indicated the celebrations are the result of people working together.

This marked the first year for Hannahs, a third grade teacher, to be in charge of the calendar. Working with her were Sharon Hanse and Jan Catherwood, who also cooperated on previous calendars.

The Watt Center calendars are available for $6 each at several locations such as the Barnesville Enterprise, Antique Mall, Hospital Gift Shop and the Watt Center. Calendars also may be ordered by mail through the Watt Center, P.O. Box 463, Barnesville, OH 43713 for $6 plus $1.50 shipping.

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