BEANS, BEANS, AND MORE BEANS!
Thursday, 08 September 2011 11:54
BEANS, BEANS, AND MORE BEANS!
Fall Harvest Festival, October 1909. Does this take you back? That is the year Jamestown began proudly parading their crops, mainly beans and corn, and their wagons with horses. The town would gather to watch this parade go down through the middle of town, building "community" in Jamestown, Ohio.
The weather in Ohio varies so greatly in October thus becoming a driving force behind the decision to change the festival to September every year. The name changed as well, to the Harvest Festival and the Lion's Club became very involved around 1921. "In the "mid-70's, as part of an advertising and promotional plan for towns in Ohio, every festival had to have a theme. The Lion's Club named Jamestown's 'The Bean Festival'," states long standing members of the local Lion's Club, Jim Dearth and Rick Jenkins.
With the "very guarded" recipe for beans and cornbread, the Lion's Club members and volunteers from all over the community will come together and serve in many ways on the Friday night and Saturday all day event once a year. This year the 2011 Bean festival is being held on September 16th and 17th. Along with the infamous beans and cornbread the Lion's Club will offer the tri-beans (formerly 3 bean casserole), Mexican beans, and pork chop sandwiches.
Opening ceremonies with the Master of Ceremonies, Mayor Mark Farrell, will begin at 5 PM Friday evening with the crowning of the Bean Queen and Auction as main features. Early Saturday morning get ready for the annual pancake breakfast at the Silvercreek Township Fire house starting at 9 AM and then hop over to the center of town for many vendors with many favorites returning and the Lion's Club tent opening at 11 AM.
The Jamestown Historical Society offers tours of the restored and renovated Opera House which always adds delight to the weekend. Saturday morning at 10 AM the community can enjoy the entertainment of Ernie Houser and his Karaoke fun. Last year the crowd enjoyed listening to possibly the youngest singer at the Bean Festival standing on stage singing "Amazing Grace", Jamestown's own Ana Clark who was 2 years old. As Saturday continues there will be entertaining events such as the Greeneview Sensations, the Greeneview Band, and the annual wheelchair race through the center of town. There will once again be a car show on Washington St. with over 90 vehicles displayed.
To highlight the fun day we watch as the community gathers around town awaiting the annual Bean Festival parade at 6:00 PM announced by Dean Gordon and consisting of over 80 entries with up to 300 people marching and walking to display their pride in community. Local costume designer, Kathy King, does an excellent job providing many costumes for locals to wear as they walk in the parade. Immediately following, the "ham and blanket wheel" begins with Jamestown's own Eddie Brill who has been spinning the wheel every year since 1955! Following that fun, "The Blaze Band' is scheduled for a return engagement and all attendees are sure to be entertained as they perform Country and Old Time Rock and Roll music. There will be raffle prizes given around 10:45 PM as the Historical Society and The Lion's Club announce their winners! Many families will be returning to their homes Saturday night with a sense of community once again in their hearts as they rest in the small town of Jamestown.
But that's not all!
After meeting with the representatives from the Lion's Club and gathering details about the upcoming festival, I am compelled to write and include how interesting our conversation became due to the information shared, and I feel as if I am writing a report in high school for the teacher to see what all I have learned. But this time it is not an assignment given to a teenager for a necessary grade, this is an article with passion. The Lion's Club is more than just men and women in red vests walking around town. I was impressed with the lengthy "resume" of what the club is about. I want to help cause awareness to the Lion's Club starting in 1921 with the purpose of "giving all proceeds back into the community. We provide many items around town including a $2500 raffle at the Bean festival annually; the scoreboard at the new high school; the gazebo at Seaman Park; the skateboard park in town off Adams Street; 6 scholarships to high school seniors; we also help offset expenses and sponsor students for travel to music venues and competitions. We work alongside the Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce for a successful Small Town Christmas event every year bringing Santa Claus to town, as well as enjoy providing dinner for the Senior Citizens at their annual event. There is a costume contest at Halloween sponsored by the Lion's Club with prize money totaling $500. After all of that one of the very biggest things we do to help the community is continue to provide countless eye exams and eye glasses to people in need," stated both Jim and Rick. Currently, though, the Bean Festival is their focus.
Yes, it is only August, but to the Lion's club the annual festival is fast approaching as behind the scenes work is at full pace already. Preparing ahead for success, the club starts in July getting ready for the parade, vendors, donations, sponsors, setting up meetings with people involved, gathering supplies, planning food etc. Building permits and inspections need to be scheduled to ensure the safety of the community and, simply stated, "a lot of background work is necessary to put this underway and moving forward." From bringing out the wagons full of supplies and the large tents on them early Wednesday morning during the week of the festival, to very early Sunday morning (the day after the event), the Lion's club along with the Village staff spend many hours "setting up and tearing down" Jamestown. The streets of Jamestown have to be opened back up by 10 AM Sunday morning.
As the final words in this article I gladly quote the gentlemen I interviewed as saying, "A special thanks to all the people of Jamestown that work in support of/tolerate/and work alongside of the Lion's Club. Many thanks to all the organizations such as the Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce, the Village of Jamestown, the Historical Society, Silvercreek Twp. Fire Chief Bob Olwin and the many sponsors that make the Bean festival a success – We thank you!"
For further information and to discuss entry and price for booths or the parade please contact Jim Dearth @ 937-239-5513 or Dave Bigl @ 937- 768-9073. Be certain to take note of the close date for parade entries as September 3rd and booth entry September 10th as not to miss out on being a part of this annual community enjoyment. There is also more information on the Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce web site (www.jtchamber.com) about the Lion's Club under member directory.