By Melody Vallieu
PLEASANT HILL — This weekend’s 150th birthday party for the village of Pleasant Hill is promising to be a memorable event for residents of the community and beyond.
The sesquicentennial celebration, co-chaired by Ruthann Beck and Steve Patton, will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the soccer fields at Newton Local School.
“I just hope there is a big turnout and everyone wants to celebrate what it is like to live in a small community,” Beck said.
A re-dedication of the village’s 1895 monument, erected in honor of the 12 fallen Pleasant Hill soldiers — many buried in unknown graves — will kick off events at 9 a.m. Saturday. Col. Fred Lynch of the Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War from the Dayton Major General William T. Sherman Camp No. 93, will lead the ceremony. Beck said members of this group are the same group that came to Troy’s Lincoln Funeral Train event in 2015.
A parade, beginning at the south end of town, will follow at 9:30 a.m.
“I think it is going to be a fantastic parade,” Beck said. “Pleasant Hill residents — lots of them — are participating. Farmer friends are bringing tractors, car enthusiasts are driving cars, and people from neighboring towns are sending some participants, including veterans.”
The two oldest people in the village — Beck’s mother Ruby Coate, who will be 100 this summer, and Gerald “Jar” Davis, 96, will be the grand marshals. Beck said the parade is being videotaped to be shared, so all of the people participating in the parade will then be able to see themselves following the event.
Entertainment will include a pet showcase at 11:30 a.m., the crowning of Little Miss and Mr. at noon, a Newton talent show at 2 p.m., and various other performers.
A cruise-in for cars and tractors will be offered through 6 p.m. with People’s Choice awards in several categories, according to Beck. A disc jockey will offer music for “dancing in the streets,” she said.
The afternoon also will be filled with family-friendly events, including a fire department chicken barbecue, other food vendors, and old-time games.
Mike Spaulding of Dayton, commander of the Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War from the Dayton Major General William T. Sherman Camp No. 93, will be the Civil War speaker of the afternoon at 1:15 p.m. in the Entertainment Tent. Beck said nine re-enactors also will portray important residents of the past beginning at 2 p.m. Nathan Hill, who helped found Pleasant Hill, will be portrayed by local historian Chuck Martin, she said.
“One high school student also will portray his great-great-grandfather, Jesse Beery,” said Beck, who said she is thankful to the Elizabeth Township Historical Center for the donation of a collection of vintage clothes for the parade participants and re-enactors.
The Southern Ohio Flying K9s, offering tricks and agility courses, will give two performances during the day at 2 and 3:30 p.m.
The Pleasant Hill History Center will offer historical displays of early history, and there will be a 40-foot display of Civil War artifacts at the celebration.
“It will include everything about the life of the soldier, what he carried in his knapsack when he went into battle, his artillery, and what the home life was like for the wives and daughters that were left behind when the men were going to war,” Beck said.
Beck said organizers have successfully filled the arts and crafts tent. She said more than 25 arts and crafts and local businesses will offer their wares — all handmade goods, such as wooden toys, leather goods, painted slate, jewelry and more.
Organizers also will be selling the new history book, the “Pictorial History of Pleasant Hill,” along with Cat’s Meows of the monument. Beck said history center volunteers also have framed many of the historical photos included in the history book, which will be available for purchase.
The culmination of the day, according to Beck, will be a concert at 5 p.m. by the Christian rock band City of Bright out of St. Marys.
“We’re just looking forward to a great weekend that will bring the community together to enjoy each other’s friendship,” Beck said.
Reach Melody Vallieu at (937) 552-2131 or email at [email protected]