Agriculture is the theme of several events being planned by the Highland County Historical Society, including a Barns of Highland County display that has a special grand opening from 7-9 p.m. Friday, June 24.
The grand opening is open to the public and there will be light refreshments and a cash wine bar.
Barns of Highland County is a display of barn artwork by local residents. It includes a scaled-down model of Jim Gorman’s 1914 family farm barn, paintings, drawings, photography and computer-enhanced photography, all which will remain on display until July 31 throughout the first floor of the society’s Highland House Museum.
Anyone who attends Friday’s grand opening, or visits the museum this Saturday or Sunday from 1-4 p.m., will be asked to vote for their favorite of the Barns of Highland County display. The votes will be tallied up after the weekend and a People’s Choice ribbon will be placed with the winner.
Gorman’s barn was purchased in 1914 by L.A. and Mary Etta Overman, and is still in use today. It was transferred to a daughter and son-in-law, Margaret and William Gorman, then sold to Jim and Linda Gorman in 1970. Gorman also has a display in the museum of farm tractors and implements he built from from scrap brass.
Other local artists with items on display include Joe Smith, Mike Bick, Mary Jo Copeland, Caroline Siemers, Nicholas Fantetti, Marco Renk, Meredith Zornes, Eric Pratt and Beverly Rumor.
The museum is open regularly from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, but will have extended hours during the Festival of Bells weekend, including on Friday, July 1.
Then on Sunday, July 3, local teenage picking phenom Parker Hastings will perform a concert starting at 1 p.m. The concert will be outdoors if the weather permits.
The idea for the Barns of Highland County display, according to society member Avery Applegate, originated two years ago when she helped organize an exhibit of Detwiler women artworks that was a success. She was looking for something new for the society’s Highland House Museum to have on display during the Festival of the Bells when she remembered a painting she has of a Highland County barn, likely painted in the mid 1990s, by Joe Smith.
“Since I have this barn painting that I look at every day and absolutely love, I thought why not Barns of Highland County?” Applegate said. “At the time I didn’t know that John Kellis, John Levo and Jim Faust were working on other ag-related stuff.”
The other ag-related events include:
• July 7 – At 7 p.m. Levo will give a program on Highland County Century Farms at the Highland House.
• July 28 – Peebles area resident John Wickerham will present a program on the 1957 World Plowing Contest that was held near Peebles.
• The society is researching the history of the Highland County Fairgrounds, 4-H, FFA and stockyards in Highland County for stories that it plans to publish in The Times-Gazette.
• Sept. 28 – Log Cabin Cookout at the Highland House. Serving starts at 5 p.m. and an auction at 6 p.m. The auction will feature paintings of Highland County barns by Cincinnati area resident Robert Kroeger, which are framed with wood from the barn depicted and include a story of the history behind the barn. A handmade “Buckeye Stars #2” quilt made by Jeannette Knauff is being raffled by the society and winner will be drawn that night. Tickets are $5 each or five for $20 and you do not have to be present to win.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.