The following are reader-submitted responses to the Plain Dealer & Sun “Question of the Week” from our March 25 edition. That week’s question was: What community events (ex: Railroad Days) from years past would you like to see resurrected and why?
While I appreciate the question is about resurrecting some past events, I respectfully feel the focus should be on supporting for the future the many events we already have.
The City of North Vernon has at least three annual events: Fourth of July at the Park, Airport Awareness Days, Christmas in the City. St. Mary’s adds to this a wonderful community festival. Commiskey has its annual Fall Festival. On Labor Day Weekend you have festivals in Hayden and Vernon. The Historical Society has the Sassafras Festival, Homes Tour, and the Ghost Walk. Halloween also has “Sweet Street” in North Vernon. “Tame the Terrain” draws a large crowd to the county park. The Jennings County Fair is a busy week. The U.S. 50 Yard Sale brings in many people from out of state. MUTC now does its open house every other year. The Park Theatre has the annual Bluegrass Festival and the Free Movies for Kids in the summer, while the Jennings County Players have three weekends a year of live theater. Crafty Saturday is an annual event involving (I think) six churches. I hope the police continue the “Back Lot Bar-B-Q.” Add to all this the Fire Department Fish Fries (or NVFD Pancake Breakfast) and the church ice cream socials, along with all the car shows at the park and the calendar fills up quickly. This is particularly true if you have children in school and/or are active in a church and add in all the related activities.
I do hope the Hulda/Santa Express returns and I would like to see the Vernon Blue and Gold Stockings schedule some more games.
Putting events together takes the work of many people, but often the same people. I would like to see them build on what we have rather than adding to a busy calendar. For example, I support an ever growing Christmas parade, rather than trying for more parades which would only compete against each other making each smaller.
I will say that I think events should be put together by private individuals and organizations (with appropriate support from government). I have never considered “entertaining us” to be a government responsibility. I also feel the government should support local businesses when having festivals and not compete against them. Specific reference is made to beer gardens in North Vernon. We have a number of tax-paying year-round establishments where folks can go to get a beer and government should not be bringing in others to compete against them during festivals.
Tom Taylor, North Vernon
I am just pleased that we will be able to have our current events, especially Sassafras Festival, Tame the Terrain, Vernon La-la-gag, etc.
Maybe some time in the future we can have Railroad Days, Labor Day Festival but right now let’s support the ones we can have in light of the pandemic, etc.
I would love it if we returned to having a parade and Memorial Day program for veterans and all patriots! 100 years ago it was well attended so maybe we could return to that type of community spirit. We should make sure as they did that gravesites of our veterans are well cared for and marked with a flag — which is done but many small rural cemeteries need repair and care. This would give us an opportunity to get a Cemetery Commission for the county established by our Board of County Commissioners. (which is possible under state law).
It could be Memorial Day Sunday or Monday. Maybe a band (Pat Sullivan’s) to play patriotic songs on the Courthouse lawn with food trucks? Then everyone march to the cemetery…. or rotate between various cemeteries (NV, Vernon, Hayden, Scipio, etc) so people would see various communities?
Lou Malcomb, Weston
The Hulda-Santa Express train rides. I realize this event always required a tremendous amount of sacrifice and commitment from the Madison Railroad, especially, and the Park Theatre, but the people, especially the kids, loved it.
Bryce Mayer, North Vernon
I could be wrong and correct me if I am but I think the Vernon Labor Day went down hill when they changed that only certain vendors allowed to sell, getting away from the typical yard sales types. I think they wanted more antiques. That is what I heard a few years ago.
Diana Taylor, North Vernon