A Pioneer Village FourthWORTHINGTON — In 1986, a grant was given to the community of Worthington to attempt to put more into celebrating the birth of our nation. It was referred to as a Celebration of Our Heritage. Featured speakers came to Pioneer Village for an Old Fashioned Fourth of July. A bathtub race and other events took place downtown on Main Street and, of course, there were fireworks in the evening, after dark.
By: AL SWANSON, DAILY GLOBE HISTORICAL COLUMNIST , Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — In 1986, a grant was given to the community of Worthington to attempt to put more into celebrating the birth of our nation. It was referred to as a Celebration of Our Heritage. Featured speakers came to Pioneer Village for an Old Fashioned Fourth of July. A bathtub race and other events took place downtown on Main Street and, of course, there were fireworks in the evening, after dark.
Decisions were made as to the happenings at Pioneer Village. Adults were charged a standard fee, but charging for children became another matter. A member of the Optimist Club suggested that all children could be admitted free of charge. This was accepted by the Historical Society as a donation. The Optimists have continued this practice down through the years and have included sponsoring the Halloween Trail and Santa Claus for Christmas at Pioneer Village.
In addition, the Historical Society would present a melodrama in the Village Hall. A melodrama is old-time theater that goes way back in the history of our nation. It has become a “must” at Pioneer Village on the Fourth of July. The first drama that was presented was “He Ain’t Done Right By Nell.” Hollywood and Broadway were ignored and locals were found to fill the roles of hero, heroine, villain and others. The melodrama has become a major part of the Old Fashioned Fourth of July throughout the 20 years of this kind of celebration.
The Old Fashioned Fourth has many other events for the celebration. There are displays of activities from the past: the grinding of flour and the shelling of ear corn are always around the railroad area. At first there were demonstrations, but it wasn’t long before the corn shellers were operated by everyone from 9 to 90. It is fun to shell corn, but it doesn’t last long and someone else always wants to take his or her turn at the shellers.
An old-fashioned clothes washing is set up with the washer using man (or woman) power, the wringer squeezing the moisture out by hand and finally the clothes hanging on the line, using the breezes of nature to dry them.
The wood stove set up under the trees makes it a place for people to gather and share the goodies that come from the oven. They seem to taste better coming out hot.
As always, there is plenty of food and beverage for the visitors. The Fire Hall is the place with plenty of food. Seating is available, either in the Fire Hall or at the picnic tables around the area.
At day’s end, Pioneer Village closes and the crowd moves to Chautauqua Park for the annual concert. Then, later, come the fireworks.