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The return of a Hilltop tradition
Messenger photo by Whitney Wilson Coy
State representatives Dan Stewart (left) and Ted Celeste (right) announced the return of the Uptown on the Hilltop Parade at a press conference on Sept. 24.
A long-lost Hilltop tradition will be back with a bang the first weekend in October.
The Uptown on the Hilltop Parade was a yearly event in the Hilltop for many generations, but ended in 2000 due to a lack of funds.
“I’m proud to announce that we’re bringing back a Hilltop tradition,” said State Representative Dan Stewart (25-D).
The parade, which always occurs in the fall, largely serves as a stage for elected officials, as well as candidates in the upcoming election. Several neighborhood organizations also play a part.
According to Stewart, this shines a spotlight on the Hilltop that it doesn’t get at any other time of the year.
“It gives us a chance to show the public and other elected officials what we have to offer here on the Hilltop,” said Stewart. “It’s a way to let those that don’t live on the Westside know who we are and what we do.”
Gary Baker, II, Columbus City Schools Board of Education member and former Greater Hilltop Area Commission chair, agreed with Stewart.
“For a lot of those people, that’s the only time they’re going to walk down Broad Street,” said Baker. “It’s not just a parade of candidates. It really introduces them to us and us to them. I think it’s beneficial.”
The parade is also a chance for residents to get outside, talk to neighbors and meet people from organizations that represent the neighborhood.
“It’s a day for kids and balloons and enjoying the community,” he added.
The parade is primarily sponsored by the Friends of Hilltop. Other major sponsors include Baker, a lifetime resident of the Hilltop, and Columbus Council President Michael Mentel, who was born and raised on the Westside.
“Help is also coming from not only those who represent the Hilltop and have roots here, but also from those who care about the Hilltop,” he said.
Also sponsoring the return of the event are State Representative Ted Celeste, State Treasurer Richard Cordray, Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy, Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, Columbus City Council member Maryellen O’Shaughnessy and Clerk of Courts John O’Grady.
According to Stewart, an estimated $3,000 to $4,000 has been raised to date, with dollars still coming in.
“There are no tax dollars involved,” Stewart said.
The funds mostly go towards permits, closing the street and promoting the event.
Stewart added that the timing of the parade is also beneficial because it doesn’t conflict with any other parades or events.
“It’s not the Fourth of July. It’s not Labor Day. It doesn’t compete with anything else. It’s just us.” he said.
“We believe that bringing back the parade will be a part of the revitalization of the Hilltop,” said Stewart. “By float or by foot, people will be coming back to the Hilltop.”
“I think it’s the kind of thing that’s going to help us bring about the Hilltop renaissance. It’s another piece of the puzzle,” said Baker.
Stewart added that while the parade will likely start small this year, he thinks it will slowly work it’s way back to its “original grandeur.”
“Besides, who doesn’t love a parade?” he said.
The Uptown on the Hilltop Parade will take place Sunday, Oct. 5. Participants will convene in the parking lot of the Ohio Department of Transportation, 1980 W. Broad St., at 1 p.m. The parade will begin at 1:30 p.m. It will travel west along Broad Street and continue to the intersection of Broad and Powell.
For more information about volunteering, making a donation or participating in the parade, visit www.friendsofthehilltop.com.
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