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Sesquicentennial party continues

Area residents have an excuse to throw open their doors and invite everyone to a party this month – the city’s sesquicentennial.

Saturday, August 14, 1999

Area residents have an excuse to throw open their doors and invite everyone to a party this month – the city’s sesquicentennial.

Ironton’s Sesquicentennial Committee has designated August as the month for block parties and for getting to know neighbors, said Virginia Bryant, committee treasurer.

"This is family month," Mrs. Bryant said. "And we thought block parties would be a good way to start. It used to be that you knew your neighbors, but now, with everyone working outside the home, you don’t know your neighbors. We thought this would be a good thing to do to get families together and to get people acquainted."

The Ironton Tribune and Ironton Business Association will host a gathering of their own Aug. 19 on The Tribune’s parking lot, which is located on the corner of South Fifth and Ashtabula streets.

From 7 to 9 p.m., neighbors will be able to sit back and listen to Southern Thunder – a local band last seen at the Lawrence County Fair – and eat a slice of watermelon at the Watermelon Social.

There also will be fun-filled activities for children and River Valley Health Systems representatives will register children with the KidCare ID program.

And that’s not all – the first 40 children on the lot will receive a pot of soil so they might try to grow their very own watermelon vine from a seed.

Other Watermelon Social sponsors include Weber’s Florist & Gifts, Hecla Water Assoc., Pepsi Cola Bottling Co. of Franklin Furnace, Ironton Mayor Bob Cleary and Mootz Farm.

Also this month, the Lawrence County Historical Society will have a block party, Mrs. Bryant said.

"They are inviting everybody around the block," Mrs. Bryant said. "It’s from 2 to 4 p.m. today, and there will be various things to do. There will be lots of things for children to do and tours of the museum."

Refreshments also will be served, said Vera Billings, Historical Society member.

"We’re going to have pop, cookies and pretzels," Mrs. Billings said. "We’re also going to have games for the children and some singing."

This month, everyone should open their doors and invite their neighbors to a party, she added.

"We’re doing this because we’re patriotic," Mrs. Billings said. "Because of the sesquicentennial, everybody’s supposed to have a block party within their block."

Ohio University Southern Campus officials will welcome visitors from 4 to 7 p.m. Aug. 26 to tour the campus, view historical exhibits, play some games, eat some food, and, maybe, even dunk a few politicians, said Mary Stout, OUSC library director.

"We’re going to invite all of our neighbors and Ironton residents and Tri-State residents to come over," Mrs. Stout said. "We will have an exhibit by the historical museum and a pictorial exhibit of Ironton’s history. The fire department will bring its new truck. And we plan to have a dunking booth. We are hoping to get some of the local politicians to sit in it."

There also will be a kids’ corner area, where area children will be able to have water balloon fights and blow bubbles, Mrs. Stout said.

"We’re doing this just because it is Ironton’s sesquicentennial and they said August was block party month, and we didn’t want to miss out on the fun," she said.

Adults also will be able to play some games – checkers, bingo and a trivia game based on Ironton history, Mrs. Stout added.

Earlier this month, city churches had their own block parties.

Among those participating were First Methodist Church, Pleasant Street Nazarene Church, Elm Street Nazarene Church and Calvary Baptist Church.

Last Sunday, the First Baptist Church’s congregation invited all of their neighbors to the congregation hall for an ice cream social, Mrs. Bryant said.

"We had a lot of people outside the church and from other churches there," she said. "We had a lot of people who stayed and enjoyed the conversation. Even when it rained, people stayed, they just sat under the tents."

Ironton’s Sesquicentennial Committee has planned a year of celebration with different events each month. And those events will continue until December.

Events remaining in 1999 include:

– The Festival of the Hills from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 11 and 12. Ohio University’s outdoor craft and music festival recalls days gone by with a variety of crafters, musicians, demonstrators, concession stands, exhibits, buggy rides and much more. This year the Sesquicentennial Queen will be crowned Sept. 11.

The pageant is open for all girls ages 0-18 years. Every entrant receives a trophy. Preregistration is required by Sept. 7. Anyone may register by calling Teresa Call at 532-6608.

– "When Wright is Wrong" Sept. 23 in the Ohio University Southern Campus Collins Center. Judge W.R. Walton will reenact the trial, which involved Nannie Kelly Wright. The Ironton Tribune publisher, Jennifer Allen will perform as Ms. Wright.

– A tour of the iron furnaces will be from 1 to 4 p.m. Oct. 3. The Co-Op Club will sponsor the tour.

– A Co-Operative Club craft show 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 16 and 17 at the Ironton High School Sports Center on South Seventh and Ellison streets. There will be craft booths and a cafe.

– A Co-Operative Club homes tour from 1 to 5 p.m. Oct. 17. This will be the 32nd annual tour and tickets must be purchased in advance.

– "This Town is America," a play that portrays Ironton’s history through story and song. The performance, which is being written and scored locally, will be at 8 p.m. Nov. 12 and 13 and at 2 p.m. Nov. 14 at the Ironton High School auditorium. Jeff Handley is the director and more than 100 Ironton residents are involved with this production.

– An Ironton Christmas Parade. The 1999 parade will be even more elaborate in celebration of the sesquicentennial. It is at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 29, and is sponsored by the Ironton Business Association.

– A Candlelight Church Walk at 5 p.m. Dec. 5. The Lawrence County Historical Society will sponsor this walk, which begins at First Baptist Church at South Fifth and Vernon Streets and includes seven churches. The walk will end at the Lawrence County Museum where refreshments will be served and guest may view the Christmas trees.