Formed in September of 1816 and originality called New Lexington, Highland Village Council and the Highland United Methodist Church are teaming up to organize a bicentennial celebration for the village of Highland.
The project is the brainchild of Highland Mayor Henry Smith, according to committee chairman Barbara Hodge.
“We want to make it kind of like a homecoming to bring people back to their hometown,” Hodge said. “It’s going to be huge.”
Hodge said that while she’s not exactly sure when the village changed its name, it was done because there was another New Lexington in Ohio near Canton. She said it had to happen sometime before 1900 because that’s when the current Highland United Methodist Church was built and it has the name New Lexington etched on it.
What the committee needs now is help, Hodge said.
“We need ideas, people to help, items to be displayed in the church and in the park,” Hodge said. “We want information about any people and businesses that were here in the village and the surrounding area in the last 200 years. If you have any or want to be involved in some capacity, contact one of the committee people.”
Hodge can be reached at 937-780-7931 for items to be displayed at the church and Smith can be reached at 937-780-6224 for items that will be displayed at the park. Other committee members are Jeremy Kibbey, Carol Garringer, Brenda Machan, Patty Gilliland, Darlene Ervin and Richie Davy.
The committee’s next meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 8 at the Highland United Methodist Church. Anyone interested is welcome.
Hodge said the celebration is being planned for Saturday, Sept. 17 and possible Sept. 18 also. She said the committee is talking about having activities including a king and queen contest, costume party, horseshoe tournament and other old-time games, spaghetti dinner, memorabilia on display, craft show, car show, displays from the Highland County Historical Society, a parade, fish fry, a short play, old equipment, possibly a Civil War re-enactment, and more.
She said the committee plans to have entries at the Hillsboro Festival of the Bells Parade and Greene Countrie Towne Festival Parade in Greenfield to promote the celebration. She said the committee plans to start selling T-shirts in a couple months and possibly have an auction to raise funds for musical entertainment at the celebration. She said any money left over could be used to help maintain the village park.
“There is so much history in this town and the surrounding community,” Hodge said. “We’re calling on anyone who has ever lived here to help us out.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.