Bean Dinner honors Camp Chase

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By Christine Bryant
Staff Writer

Get ready bean lovers, the Hilltop Business Association’s Bean Dinner is almost here.

The annual fundraiser for the organization will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 27 at Westgate Park.

This year’s event will once again include live entertainment, children’s events, vendors and a car show. More than 300 cars participated in last year’s show, said Rich Riley, HBA president and co-chair of the bean dinner.

Volunteers will serve the main attraction, the beans, at the park’s shelter house, along with hot dogs and corn bread.

The free popular Westside event has served as a celebration of the neighborhood’s history for nearly 90 years, Riley said.

“When Camp Chase was here, the soldiers’ mainstay of dinner was beans,” he said. “They cooked them on the outside, and that’s the way we still do it at the bean dinner.”

Camp Chase served as a training camp for Ohio soldiers and later became a prisoner-of-war camp. As many as 150,000 Union soldiers and 25,000 Confederate prisoners passed through its gates during the Civil War, and the Camp Chase confederate Cemetery now sits just southeast of Westgate Park.

New this year, the Boy Scouts will hold a flag retirement ceremony at 5 p.m.  The event also will include performances by Scottish and Irish dancers throughout the day, and two bands – Haz Benz from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and MoJo Theory from 1:30 to 5 p.m.

Nearly 15 food vendors will be on hand, as well as craft vendors and a tent filled with non-profits, campaign representatives and other community partners. Fingerprinting for kids and microchipping for pets will be offered, as well as balloon making and face painting.

“Also, area churches and neighborhood organizations are on display in the neighborhood section, along with the Hilltop Historical Society,” said Nancy Rhynard, HBA executive secretary.

The bean dinner serves as the largest fundraiser for the Hilltop Business Association, which serves as an advocate for businesses in the community. Organizers expect as many as 8,000 to 12,000 people to attend the bean dinner, Riley said.

“It will be a good day – rain or shine,” he said.

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