Enjoy a fish fry and a winter hike in Lockbourne

By Rick Palsgrove
Managing Editor

Photo courtesy of the village of Lockbourne
Winter hikes will be held on the village of Lockbourne’s Magnolia Trails, 154 Commerce St., Lockbourne, on Feb. 25 and March 25 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. See views of Big Walnut Creek as well as wildlife. Also on the hike see the historic Ohio and Erie Canal locks in Lockbourne and Columbus feeder canal remnants.

The village of Lockbourne has two events coming up – one to tantalize your taste buds and another that encourages one to enjoy a walk in nature as well as exploring the past.

Lockbourne Fish Fry
The Lockbourne Fish Fry has been a local tradition for more than 15 years. This year’s fish fry will be held March 16 and 17 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Lockbourne Historical Hall, 206 Vause St., Lockbourne.

“The fish fry is held by the Lockbourne Heritage Society,” said Jane McJunkin –of the Lockbourne Heritage Society. “We’re a non-profit organization that helps fund Lockbourne events and helps purchase items not included in the village’s budget.”

According to McJunkin, with the revenue from the fish fry, the Heritage Society will purchase a new stove for the Historical Hall and all of the Easter candy for the annual Easter Egg hunt along with flowers in the spring for Veterans Park.

She said the fish fry is a special tradition.

“People come together and enjoy each other’s company while enjoying great food at a great price,” said McJunkin. “It is an annual tradition and people start asking when the next fish fry will be held as soon as the current one is completed. Local law enforcement and Hamilton Township firefighters attend both days and show their presence in our community. Lockbourne is a small village with a huge sense of community. We stand together and help support the village any way we can.”

She said the fish fry plays an important role in the community.

“The fish fry is a staple in our community to help fund our annual Easter Egg Hunt and purchase items not on our budget,” said McJunkin. “Lockbourne has about 240 residents with only one commercial business. We do not have the extra funds for our community events and the Lockbourne Heritage Society and Rediscover Lockbourne help ensure we can provide free community events for our residents and neighbors. We believe the fish fry is a great way to help fund our community and to grow our friendships with our neighbors.”

Magnolia Trail Hike Series
Lockbourne’s annual Magnolia Trail Winter Hike Series includes hikes on Feb. 25 and March 25 at 11 a.m. Hikes begin at Locke Meadow Park, 154 Commerce St., Lockbourne. The trails are easily accessible from the parking area that displays Ohio and Erie Canal Lock 30. There is directional signage along the trails and Lockbourne officials are working with Columbus Metro Parks to create more informational signage for the historic lock and canal system.

“Our hike is beginner friendly and is approximately two miles if you complete both of our loops,” said Lockbourne Village Deputy Administrator Kendall Collins. “Our Main loop is approximately one mile. The trail brings you along Big Walnut Creek with gorgeous views of the flowing water and it also showcases the last remaining Columbus Feeder lock of the Ohio and Erie Canal. Our Nye loop is about one mile and passes through newer woods with different views of the Big Walnut and the opportunity to see a bald eagle family that stays nearby at our neighbors, the Bedford Falls Christmas Tree Farm.”

Collins said the trails offer multiple wonders to explore including: Big Walnut Creek, natural wetlands, large old growth trees, new young trees, paw-paw grove, buckeye tree grove, multiple animals including bald eagles, racoons, squirrels, deer, possums, different varieties of birds, even coyotes.

“We are also home to historic lock and canal along with the last remaining Columbus Feeder Lock. All on the National Register of Historic Places,” said Collins.
In addition to the Winter Hike Series, Collins said there will also be a Magnolia Trail Summer Hike Series this year.

“It will be the last Saturday of each month beginning in June, July, and August,” said Collins. “If the popularity continues to grow, we will add a Magnolia Trail Autumn Hike Series. At the first hike of 2023, in January, we had over 30 attendees, being our largest group to date. We are excited to showcase our beautiful trail and explore the outdoors with our community.”

When asked what makes the Magnolia Trail hikes special compared to other area hikes, Collins said the hikes offer hikers the chance to enjoy both nature and history.

“There are beautiful views of Big Walnut Creek, different varieties of animals and trees, plus we have history to add to the views,” said Collins. “We have the historic canal and locks along with history about how early transportation came through our village.”

She said in the early 1800s, Lockbourne was a booming place with five saloons and a distillery that produced 100 plus barrels of whiskey per day.

“It was called the Monypenny distillery,” said Collins. “We had more residents then than we do now. We also have our military ties with the former Lockbourne Air Force Base.”
Above all, Collins said the Magnolia Trail “is unique, serene, and beautiful.”

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