Plans are coming together for a Highland Bicentennial Celebration and Homecoming that’s scheduled for Sept. 17-18.
There will be at least three musical groups playing plus several individuals performing, a fish fry, parade, Civil War encampment, old-fashioned games, inflatibles, chili cookoff, and artifacts on display during the bicentennial weekend, plus several events beforehand to help raise money for the celebration, according to Barbara Hodge, the event’s committee chairman.
“This is going to be a big deal, not some little dinky thing,” Hodge said.
The bands scheduled so far are Sean Poole and Jack Lewis on Saturday, and Blue Steel and the quartet 4 Given on Sunday.
A fish fry will be held Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and other food will be available both days.
A parade will start at noon Saturday. The Civil War encampment, with a museum and demonstrations, will be open both days. Old-time games will include horseshoes, feed sack races and a balloon toss. There will be four inflatibles for kids play on and a martial arts demonstration.
A chili cookoff will be held Saturday and anyone interested in taking part should contact Jeremy Kibbey at 937-780-1042.
A museum of artifacts relating to the Highland area will be on display both days in the village park. Anyone who would like to display items can contact Hodge at 937-780-7931.
To help raise funds for the celebration, a spaghetti dinner will be held from 5-7 p.m. Saturday, May 14 at the Leesburg Masonic Lodge on SR 28 in Leesburg. Commemorative T-shirts ($12), glass mugs ($12) and candy bars ($2) will be on sale at the dinner. There will also be a raffle of items donated by local businesses and individuals.
An auction originally scheduled for May 19 has been postponed, but will be held at another time, Hodge said. Anyone interested in donating items for it can call Highland Mayor Henry Smith at 937-763-4916 or any of the other people listed above. Proceeds will be used for bicentennial expenses including portable toilets, dumpsters and clean up.
There will be a “ghost walk” at the Highland Cemetery in August, although the exact date has not been set. “We’ll walk around town where pictures will be set up showing what used to be at certain locations like where there was a livery stable, different stores, an inn and more,” Hodge said.
Other committee members are Carol Garringer, Brenda Machan, Patty Gilliland, Darlene Ervin and Richie Davy. The committee’s next meeting is 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 7 at the Highland Methodist Church. Anyone interested is encouraged to attend.
Originally known as New Lexington, Highland was founded in September of 1816. Sometime after 1900, Hodge said, the village’s name was changed to Highland because there was another New Lexington near Canton.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.