To the point week of 2-25-10

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A GROUP OF COUNTY RESIDENTS gathered at the utilities building of the Town of Vevay this past Monday night to begin a rather imposing task – the planning, organization, and production of the town’s Bicentennial.

Now if you’ve listened to the Little Swiss Polka Dancers, you know that Vevay was, “…Founded by the Swiss on the O-Hi-O in 18 hundred 13…”.

So why is this group getting together now?

Because 2013 - the year of the town’s Bicentennial – will be here quicker than we know it, and the town needs to be ready.

There were about 20 people at Monday’s initial planning meeting, but there is a lot of interest in what will go on. The committee created a group on “Facebook” on Monday night (Vevay Bicentennial 2013), and less than 24 hours after it was created, there were nearly 300 members.

That’s a lot of people from all over the county and all over the country who are interested in what’s going to go on here. People who are beginning to get excited about all of the possibilities that could mark the anniversary. Excited about when the event will be, how long it will be, and just what will be included.

Maybe you’re one of those people. Maybe the thought of Vevay’s Bicentennial stirs memories of the Sesquicentennial Celebration that became the foundation of what we enjoy today as the Swiss Wine Festival. Maybe you have an idea. Maybe you’d just like to see what’s going on.

If so, you are needed.

This event is not something that the community can simply sit back, wait on 2013, and see what the committee has created. It can’t be done, because it’s going to be too big. It’s going to take many volunteers pitching in some time and effort to help pull off the different events and activities that will go on.

Heck, volunteers are needed to figure out exactly what those events and activities are going to be.

That’s where you come in.

The committee will meet again at the utilities building (for you long timers, its the “Company House” of the old Shoe Factory) on Monday, March 29th, at 6 p.m. At that meeting, Joyce Atwood will be showing some film footage of the Sesquicentennial, which should whet our appetites with a wide range of possibilities.

If you remember that event, the committee would love to hear your story. What did you like? What did you dislike? Was there something that was missed?

If you have photos, the committee would love to scan them and make them a part of this planning process, because we enrich our future by remembering our past.

But the real point of this project is that it has to be the creation of the people who live here and have lived here. This can’t and shouldn’t be just “another festival” that residents try and decide whether or not they are going to attend.

This is our history.

This is our present.

This is our future.

And I’m asking you – in fact, begging you – to be a part of it.

Much of the time people just don’t want to get involved, but I’m asking you to get involved, anyway. This is an entirely new venture and will bring people and their ideas in from all over the community, all over the county.

Every idea is a new one, so you won’t feel funny about offering one.

Can you imagine the scope of this project? Think of all of things that have contributed to making Vevay what it is today, and what it will become in the future.

At Monday’s meeting, Teresa Lyons said that “Everything should start at the river, because everything started at the river”. I agree, because the Ohio River and all of the people who traveled up and down it have left their fingerprints all over this community.

And we also have to celebrate agriculture and other aspects of our history. We have to engage our school children in this project. We have to engage our senior citizens in this project.

This is way more than just another booth at the Swiss Wine Festival. It wouldn’t be fair to the festival organizers to throw this project on them; nor would it be prudent to simply think that the Vevay Town Council can take care of this for us.

Every civic organization should get onboard and lend a hand, but at the core of this will be individuals.

Residents like you and like me.

Personally, I’d like to see “something big” get left behind, a lasting reminder to future generations of our community and the people who lived here. What will that be? A clock tower featuring a Swiss-made clock? A fountain? A monument?

I don’t know, but it think it will be fun to try and figure out.

Did you know that the Broadway Fountain in Madison was the city’s gift for its Centennial celebration? Now 100 years later, it is the signature of the community.

Now that’s something we can let our great grandchildren talk about.

Ok, so if you’re on Facebook, join the group and begin to post your thoughts and ideas for others to read. If you are technically gifted, scan and post old pictures of the community. If you have photos but are technically challenged, bring them by the Vevay Newspapers office and we’ll scan them for you.

If each of us allows our imaginations to run just a little bit “wild”, we can make this Bicentennial celebration a great and wonderful event that we will remember forever; and it will leave behind a legacy that generations will also enjoy and benefit from.