Bexley centennial kicks off May 24 at pool

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 Messenger photo by John Matuszak

Banners proclaiming Bexley’s centennial line Main Street. The celebration will officially get under way May 24 with the opening of the city pool, followed by other events throughout the summer.

It’s a birthday party you don’t want to miss.

Bexley, celebrating its centennial this year, will kick off a summer’s worth of celebrations May 24 at the opening of the pool that will be named for eight-term mayor David Madison.

The dedication will take place at 11:30 a.m. The plaque was presented to Madison last fall in recognition of his 32 years in office.

What would a birthday party be without a cake? A centennial confection is expected, and Graeter’s will be giving away free samples of ice cream from noon to 2 p.m.

Time-Warner will also be giving away prizes throughout the afternoon.

The recreation staff has planned an underwater egg hunt for 2 p.m., and a splash contest at 4.

The recreation board will sponsor a cook-out from 5-7 p.m.And to top off the day, everyone will be transported "over the rainbow" at move night at the pool, with a screening of The Wizard of Oz at dusk.

Other movie nights are planned during the summer, according to Parks and Recreation Director Doug Jackson.

Home & Garden Tour

The party doesn’t end there.

The community, founded on the grounds of Jeffrey Mansion, has long been known for its stately residences and their blooming grounds. To show off this aspect of the community, the Bexley Women’s Club will host its first Bexley House & Garden Tour and Gala.   

The invitation-only Gala on Saturday, June 21, will begin at 4 p.m. at the Governor’s Residence with a welcoming by Ohio’s First Lady, Frances Strickland.  

Gala guests will have an opportunity to tour the residence and grounds before moving on to other residences and gardens on the tour.  Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Bexley Gateway complex, and will wrap up at 8:30 p.m.  Gala reservations can be purchased for $75 per person and will be limited in availability (first-come-first-served).

On Sunday, June 22, a ticketed House & Garden Tour will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Special hourly guided tours of the Governor’s Heritage Gardens will be available, although the mansion itself will not be open for the public tour on Sunday.  

Additional tour tickets are $15 in advance and $20 on the day of tour, and are available online at www. bexleywomen.org and at Mozart’s, First Bank of Bexley and the Bexley Recreation Department office at Jeffrey Mansion.

They will be available the day of the tour at Columbus School for Girls.

The proceeds from this event will provide scholarships to high school seniors who reside in Bexley and undergraduate students nationwide.  Over the past 70 years, the Bexley Women’s Club has supported more than 700 students with over $300,000 in scholarships.

BWC is looking for volunteers to help with the House & Garden Tour. To volunteer, email your interests to volunteering@bexleywomen.org.  

For information on the tour, visit www.bexleywomen.org.  

Fourth of July

Bexley’s Fourth of July celebration, sponsored by the Bexley Celebrations Association, Bexley Recreation and Capital University, will also have a centennial theme.

The day will kick off with the John Barr 5K Run at 8 a.m.  

The parade, which will return to its original route down Dawson, will begin at 9:30 a.m.  The Grand Marshal for this year’s parade is Ohio State University President and Bexley resident E. Gordon Gee.Beginning at 6 p.m. is an evening of community fun starting with Boy Scout Troop 166’s summer cook-out, the traditional ice cream social and "Music in the Meadow" on the Capital University lawn near Main Street.  

Additional family events and entertainment are planned on the Capital campus and along Main Street until 9:15 p.m.  Capital University President Denvy Bowman will serve as host for the evening’s events at Capital.

The celebration culminates with a fireworks show at 9:30 p.m. on the Capital soccer field along Astor Avenue.  

This year’s fireworks display will be smaller than previous shows at Wolfe Park.  However, the committee hopes that the intimate surroundings will help build a sense of community and family fun into this year’s festivities.  The main seating area for the fireworks will be in the parking lot to the east of the soccer field, near the corner of Astor and Pleasant Ridge.

To reduce traffic congestion in the university area throughout the day, Bexley residents are strongly encouraged to walk to Capital’s campus for the afternoon and evening events.  Details on a shuttle service will be available later this spring.

Updated information for the 2008 July 4 Celebration will be available on the BCA Web site at www.bexleycelebrations.org. The site also contains registration forms for parade and race entries.

Collecting local history

Bexley’s young people are also getting involved in learning and sharing their community’s history.

Students at Bexley High School and Bexley Middle School are collaborating with community members to create a short video piece, "Going to School in Bexley," to mark the city’s 100th anniversary this year.  

Bexley residents of any age who have stories to tell about growing up in Bexley and what it was like to be a student in the community’s schools are invited to be interviewed by a student video production team.  

According to Joan Fishel, Bexley Board of Education representative to the city’s Centennial Commission, students’ questions are certain to prompt memories and anecdotes that will be enjoyed by everyone in the community through the video.  

Former Bexley students may arrange for a video interview by contacting Fishel at mfishel@columbus.rr.com or 237-7402.

The project is being led by Bexley High School technology teacher David Valentine, who is garnering school resources such as video recording equipment to guide Bexley High School students in collecting residents’ oral histories.  The interviews will eventually be transcribed to keep in the Bexley Historical Society’s archives.  

Students in Bexley Middle School’s leadership program are gathering historical photographs and memorabilia to edit together with the oral histories, and create the video piece, which will be screened at a public event this year.  The video production team is also tapping historic archives preserved by staffers at Montrose and Maryland Elementary Schools.

Students led by theatre director Rebecca Rhinehart plan to turn collected interviews and oral histories into one of the first productions for their new Storytelling Troupe.  The student readers’ theatre production should be ready for a public audience later this year.

The Bexley Historical Society is publishing a book about the community’s first one hundred years and is soliciting photographs and stories about the community.

For information about the Centennial Project, contact Amy Thompson, Bexley Schools Public Information Coordinator, at keycomnet@bexley.k12.oh.us or 238-6663.

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