A Canal Winchester Labor Day parade tradition, started decades ago only to fade away, was resurrected by Mound Street residents in 2007 and is back for 2008.
Julie Cecutti, a West Mound Street resident and spokesperson for her group, said neighbors are again at work designing a historically-themed float for the annual parade. Last year, organizers constructed a playhouse size replica of the Prentiss Schoolhouse. Their East Mound Street counterparts built a similar structure featuring the Queen of the Line Depot.
"Half of the street worked together on the project and everybody contributed in one way or another," said Cecutti. "That’s why we want to again promote the idea of representing neighborhoods, just like they used to do."
Cecutti said the parade has become too dominated in recent years by fire trucks, vehicles, and politicians.
"Let’s bring Canal Winchester back to the Canal Winchester parade," said Cecutti. "At one time, all of the streets had floats and we’d like to see something like that happen again. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. We even intimidated ourselves by what we did with double-hung windows. It can be as simple as a bunch of neighbors on a hay wagon or people riding their bikes together."
Plans for this year’s structure are still a secret, but Cecutti said the project calls for another yard-size structure built out of reclaimed barn siding. One-hundred-year-old flooring and slate were used in the Prentiss School replica, along with an antique school bell Cecutti found in a junk shop.
A raffle of the two playhouses, benefiting the Canal Winchester Historical Society, was held following the parade and receipts netted the society $3,000. Mayor Mike Ebert noted the winners were sisters.
Cecutti reported the woman who won the Prentiss building was especially elated because she was married on the steps of the old schoolhouse 10 years ago.
The recipient of the 2008 fundraiser will be Canal Winchester Human Services.
"We should be getting underway shortly," continued Cecutti. "It’s the whole idea of getting together and having fun and getting back to a friendly rivalry. People live in a historical village and should take advantage of that. We had planning parties and the residents of East Mound even had a hog roast we were invited to attend. We helped each other out.
"Since then, we’ve noticed changes in the neighborhood. People now stop and visit each other when they’re out walking or sitting on their porch. I think we all got to know each other better. Once you have a project together, you bond, and get to know each other as friends. That is probably the biggest reward of all."
Ebert echoed Cecutti’s sentiments regarding neighbors getting to know each other by combining resources to reach a common goal.
"Twenty-five years ago, in our development-Washington Knolls-30 to 40 houses actively participated in the float building," said Ebert. "We would have cookouts while we worked on the project. Individual streets would participate, but you would also have whole subdivisions getting together on a float. What Mound Street did last year was phenomenal. This is the first time, that I can remember, in 10 to 15 years that we’ve had something like this in the parade. The last one we did in Washington Knolls was the covered bridge, but it was pretty simple. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. You could just put kids on a float and dress them up, but it’s a great way to bring neighborhoods together."