Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Organizations’ Category

Laura Bates – A Lifetime of Community Involvement

Behind every success is effort.

Behind every effort is passion.

Behind every passion is someone with the courage to try.

Laura Salt Fork picture

Laura was a member of the Salt Fork Festival board and treasures this painting of her old family church in Noble County painted by a festival artist, Jim Secrest.

   Courage to promote local attractions is something Laura Bates still has a passion for after many years of community involvement. There’s no way to describe all her contributions in one short article, but here are a few highlights.

Laura and brothers

Brothers Eugene and Robert Williams sat with Laura on their farmhouse steps.

   Although Laura isn’t likely to tell her age, she will say that she was born on the day they repealed prohibition. Laura Williams grew up in the New Concord area and graduated from New Concord High School.

Laura and Andy 50th 001

Andy and Laura celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2012.

   While in high school, Laura worked part-time at Ohio Valley Dairy, where she met her husband, Andy Bates. Although she went to Columbus and worked for a couple years, it didn’t take her long to return to New Concord, get married and raise a family of three sons.

   While raising her family, Laura worked part-time at WILE writing continuity, scripts for advertising, and was the first woman to have a weekly community show from New Concord, Byesville and Caldwell.

   One interesting project at the radio station involved Betty Crocker coupons, which gave great rewards. The station collected 700,000 coupons with which they were given a dialysis machine. It was donated to Riverside Hospital in Columbus, their first dialysis machine ever, in memory of Betty Lou Showman, a Bloomfield lady who had needed a kidney transplant.

Laura Tomahawk

Laura helped with the Bicentennial of Guernsey County when Boyd Glass created a commemorative tomahawk.

   For nearly ten years, Laura worked with the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival. She served on their board, wrote publicity for the festival and was in charge of the Performing Arts. She served as president of the board at a time when there were 225 exhibitors.

  Church has always been an important part of her life. Bloomfield United Presbyterian Church considers itself fortunate to have Laura as an active member there. As a cancer survivor, Laura feels she is indeed blessed, “There are no crumbs at God’s table. He uses everything.” She feels God has a use for each of us.

Laura Daffodil Luncheon model 001

Modeling at the Daffodil Luncheon was pure enjoyment for Laura.

   Working with local Channel 2 TV, Laura was host of a popular “Two About Town” show – every day for fifteen years. Here she talked to many local organizations about their promotions and activities. She was a natural as everyone knows that Laura enjoys talking, but more importantly, she’s a great listener.

Laura on stage

Laura organized the Hopalong Cassidy Festival and usually emceed the event.

   The most recent avenue for involvement has been with Hopalong Cassidy. Laura worked at the local radio/television station and was conducting an interview with a lady, who remarked, “I can’t believe your town hasn’t done something special with your Hopalong Cassidy heritage.”

Laura tries on Hoppy's boots 001

Visiting Boyd’s home in California, Laura tried on Hoppy’s boots.

   Bill Boyd, later known as Hopalong Cassidy, was born in 1895 at Hendrysburg and later moved to Cambridge, where he attended Park School and Second United Presbyterian Church. His dream even then was to be a cowboy in the movies. Before long, Bill left for Hollywood, and the rest is history.

   After the interview, Laura thought about this, and realized there were many people still interested in Hopalong Cassidy. That’s when she came up with the idea for a Hopalong Cassidy Festival, which was held each May for 47 years.

Laura and Grace 001

Laura and Grace Boyd, Hoppy’s wife, became good friends.

   Not only did Laura direct the Festival, but she began her own collection of Hopalong Cassidy memorabilia and had the recent Hopalong Cassidy Museum in Cambridge. Grace Boyd, Hoppy’s wife, became one of Laura’s closest friends.

Laura and Don McLean 001

Dan McLean, singer-songwriter, wrote the introduction to “Hopalong Cassidy an American Legend”. Laura attended one of his concerts to give him a Hoppy watch.

   In 1984, Laura was named the Jeffersonian Person of the Year and later given the Sidlo Award by the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce. These were given because of her excellence in vision, leadership and legacy to promote the community.

Hoppy with Laura and Alan

This Hopalong Cassidy statue was dedicated at the Senior Center with Laura and Alan Cottrill, sculptor, present.

   When the festival came to an end, Laura still wanted Hopalong to be remembered in the area, so she began a drive to raise funds for a bronze statue of Hopalong Cassidy to be created by Alan Cottrill, an international sculptor. Today that statue can be found at our Senior Center.

   No wonder Hopalong Cassidy’s faithful buckaroos say, “Laura is the best friend Hoppy ever had.” Hoppy fans all over the world know this lady and keep a strong connection by visits, cards and gifts.

   Traveling is something she has enjoyed throughout her life with trips to Scotland, England, Ireland, Mexico and nearly all the states. Andy and Laura even renewed their wedding vows on a cruise in the Caribbean. A short trip she’d still like to take is one to see the Ark Encounter in Kentucky.

Laura Hopalong Cassidy Book

Laura treasures this Hopalong Cassidy book with its unique cover. Someday she plans to finish her own book about the cowboy legend, Hopalong Cassidy.

   Laura mentioned a couple of other things she’d like to do. Jokingly, she says she’d like to have her house cleaned up, but she has so many other things to do that are more enjoyable. Most important, she has started a book about Hopalong Cassidy and his local connection and plans to spend more time getting it organized.

Laura Family

Family is most important to Laura with three sons, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

   Most important of all is Family. Her feelings for her family were expressed by saying, “My family moments are more important to me than anything I have ever done. Our 50th wedding anniversary when everyone was here was a very special day.”

   While Laura lives life to the fullest and continues to promote her community, now we’ll have to keep on the lookout for Laura’s book about Hoppy. In the meantime, have a Hoppy Day!

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Cambridge Amateur Radio Association Serves the Community

Amateur Radio Operators

We talk to the world.

Kenwood TS-50 Radio

CARA recently inherited an old Kenwood TS-50 Ham Radio.

Communication modes with amateur radio are numerous. Some still use the International Morse Code, while others prefer voice communication or a digital mode. Using the satellites that are in our skies today, they can bounce radio waves off them, or even off the moon or meteors, to send messages around the world.

   Longtime members of Cambridge Amateur Radio Association, Sonny and Lyn Alfman are quite active in the group and helpful in explaining the joys of amateur operators, called “hams”. Sonny said that word was derived from Old English in London, where their speech made ‘amateur’ sounds like ‘hamateur’. Now you easily see the connection.

HAM Passing Messages via Amateur Radio

“Ham” operators Bruce Homer, Larry Dukes, and Alan Day pass messages.

   These hams have to pass an amateur radio exam in order to obtain a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license. They are only called amateurs because they do not get paid for their services.

   The Cambridge Amateur Radio Association (CARA) is the latest name for a group that was formed in Cambridge way back in 1913. They were the 18th Amateur Radio group formed in the United States. Today there are 5,600 groups.

_Ham Caleb Barton with Everlyn Barton

Evelyn Barton practices her communication skills while Caleb Barton listens and learns.

   This area group has approximately fifty members, meets every month and often takes a field trip to a science museum. But you can be certain they enjoy their radios every day. Ages of operators vary from 10 to 82 and each one of them has their own unique call sign.

   Special Radio Sports encourage competition through challenging contests on the local, state, national and even international levels. Sonny likes being challenged. “If it isn’t hard, it isn’t fun.” Perhaps that ‘s one reason he’s talked to every country in the world at least once. This includes talks with King Hussein of Jordan and Barry Goldwater.

CARA 2

During a contest, Larry Dukes talks to another ham as Nathan Roe lists info on the laptop.

   It’s possible to talk to other amateurs locally, nationally, internationally, and even out of this world via the International Space Station. Actually, ham radio is the official hobby of NASA’s space station where they frequently talk to students as they pass over them.

   It’s said that the ham operators wear a two-sided hat – one side for emergencies and the other for fun.

Ham CARA Alan Day snowstorm (1)

CARA member, Alan Day, assisted on the Muskingum River during the 1978 blizzard.

   One service of CARA is to provide auxiliary communications to agencies during disasters such as floods, windstorms and hurricanes. They work closely with the Guernsey County Emergency Management Association, but special training is required to work with EMA. During that terrible blizzard of 1978, they made communication possible for the Ohio National Guard in this area.

CARA

At a Field Day in Byesville’s Jackson Park, Evelyn Barton talks to another amateur while Jake Johnson listens in.

   Ever wonder how events stay so well organized? Well, these amateur radio operators enjoy being behind the scenes for bicycle events, marathons and parades – especially the Cambridge Christmas Parade since 1979. Now that’s commitment. They align the parade entries and send them out in the correct order of appearance. That’s no easy task.

   These local hams enjoy setting up portable stations at local events so people can better understand how it operates. Recently, they displayed at the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival, National Road / Zane Grey Museum, and John & Annie Glenn Historic Site. Just last month their members operated from the three crash sites of the USS Shenandoah in Noble County.

   When Christmas season arrives, their club has an on-air net on Christmas Eve. Children, who are visiting a member, can talk to Santa on the radio!

Ham Century of Radio

The group worked together to write a book, “A Century of Radio”.

   Ham members created a book, “A Century of Radio”. The book was organized by Evelyn Barton and tells the history of the club, which celebrates 105 years this December.

Ham Waller McMunn Museum

Standing outside the future Waller-McMunn Museum are Sonny Alfman, Larry Dukes, Dave Adair, and young helpers on each end.

  A current project involves the building which was used by Roy Waller and his brother-in-law, J. Homer McMunn, as an amateur radio station. Then in 1923, this same building was used as WEBE, the first commercial broadcast radio station in Cambridge. Plans are to restore this building and turn it into the Waller-McMunn Museum.

   Contact is maintained on a monthly basis through the CARA Communicator, a quarterly newsletter created by Lyn. Members participate in numerous events to practice their emergency communication skills. Training classes are held and the local group administers the federal test so new trainees can receive their FCC license.

Sonny and Lyn

Special thanks to Sonny and Lyn for answering all my questions and teaching me about CARA.

   When electric power fails, ham radio becomes even more important as it’s the only foolproof radio in the world. If you would like to become a ham operator, please contact Lyn Alfman at 740-872-3888 or lynalfman@aol.com.

   Ham radio has something for everyone to enjoy! Sonny says, “Amateur Radio is America’s best-kept secret.” It’s the perfect way to leave home while sitting in your favorite chair.

Pennyroyal Opera House in Fairview – Bluegrass at its Best

The place where Bluegrass happens!

Opera House

The Pennyroyal Opera House is along Old National Road in Fairview.

Along Old National Road in the town of Fairview, Pennyroyal Opera House provides a family-friendly evening of entertaining bluegrass music over the years from October through May. Their season is about to begin!

Country Gentleman Band

Country Gentlemen Tribute Band – October 5

   Their first show on October 5 features The Country Gentlemen Tribute Band with an awesome bluegrass sound.

Kevin Prater Band

Kevin Prater Band – October 12

Remington Ryde 1

Remington Ryde – October 19

   Following weeks will feature such greats as The Kevin Prater Band with strong vocal harmonies and a crowd-pleaser Remington Ryde.

Pennyroyal Opera House painting

Cathy Gadd, a long-time organizer, painted this picture of Pennyroyal Opera House.

   The historic building originally was home to the Methodist Church in the 1830s, then used as a Grange Hall. In 1910, it was purchased by the Pennyroyal Reunion Association. Since 1995, Pennyroyal Opera House is the place where Bluegrass happens.

Pennyroyal Distillery Postcard

This old postcard shows the Pennyroyal Distillery where medicinal oils were made.

   The name Pennyroyal came about from a Pennyroyal Distillery that was located in Fairview in the early 1800s. There seemed to be an abundance in the Fairview area of the wild herb, pennyroyal, a member of the mint family. Pennyroyal herb oil was valued for its medicinal purposes.

Betty and Harold

Betty Eddy planted the seed for bluegrass at Fairview with Harold Dailey.

   A chance encounter at 1st National Bank in Barnesville changed events in Fairview. Harold Dailey began working at the hospital there and one day, Betty Eddy, an employee of the bank, asked Harold if he had an idea for making some money for the Pennyroyal Reunion Association.

Stage

The stage is ready for the season to begin.

   Since Harold played and enjoyed bluegrass, he suggested having a bluegrass show. In 1995, Harold, with some local help, organized the first bluegrass show at the Pennyroyal Opera House. In the beginning, their plan was to feature local bluegrass groups so they could have a place to showcase their talents.

Opera House crowd

Each concert draws a full house of people who love bluegrass.

   From that humble beginning, the show blossomed into a nationally known place to hear and perform bluegrass. Today there is never a problem getting excellent bluegrass bands from all over the United States and Canada to stop by for an evening. They’ve even had bands call from England to request a time for performance.

Harold and Kenny by the stage

Harold and Kenny Keylor reminisce about bands that have played on that stage.

   While Harold started the show, Frank and Cathy Gadd have held the reins for many years recently. Since Harold’s retirement, he asked if he might become active again in organizing the bluegrass programs.

Almost Famous (2)

Harold plays electric acoustic bass in the bluegrass band, Almost Famous.

   Harold says, “I’m glad to be back as I love bluegrass, play bluegrass and love to promote it.” Harold plays electric acoustic bass in a bluegrass band, Almost Famous.

   Many from the Pennyroyal Reunion Association still help by providing the delicious home cooked food in the kitchen. Betty Eddy serves as treasurer and still bakes pies with favorites being custard, rhubarb, and peanut butter.

Lonesome River Band poster

The poster from the first professional band that played there still hangs backstage.

   This isn’t a large building or a large show, but it’s big on talent on Friday evenings. Since they’re right along Interstate 70, many big-name stars will stop for a pick-up-date on their way to their Saturday performance. It’s a great chance to meet some of your favorite bluegrass stars up close and personal.

photos on wall

Spend time before the show checking out the pictures on the walls.

   There are pictures on the wall of some of those popular names who have played there in the past. The first professional band that played there was The Lonesome River Band. Other pictures include such greats as Bobby Osborne, The Grascals, IIIrd Tyme Out, Rhonda Vincent and Dave Evans.

   For those nights when you want to listen to some top-notch bluegrass and can’t make it out to the show, sit back and listen on the radio. Their shows are carried live at 101.1 FM in Wheeling and 101.9 FM in Cambridge.

   If you want to check out their full 2018 schedule, go to www.pennyroyalbluegrass.com. For booking information call Harold Dailey at 740-827-0957.

Inside with seats already reserved

People have already placed their blankets on seats to save them for the next show. It’s a tradition!

   Come early some Friday evening for some delicious food, then go upstairs and listen to some quality classic bluegrass, which puts soul into music.

Pennyroyal Opera House in Fairview can easily be reached off I-70 between Old Washington and St. Clairsville. Take exit 198 and this popular Bluegrass Music house can be found on the north side of the road very near the exit.

The Voice of Enthusiasm at Salt Fork Festival

carol-jones Muskingum UniversityEnthusiasm spreads from Carol Wilcox-Jones to everyone she meets. It’s contagious! Carol is the spark that gets things going, whether at her summer music camps or at the Salt Fork Festival. She does it all with a song in her heart.

   Growing up in Kansas, the Wilcox family sang even while doing housework. “I can’t remember a time when I didn’t sing,” Carol recalls with a sparkle in her eyes. Her dad played guitar at square dances and sang on the radio, while her mom did the Charleston and even clogged. Family always ranked high in importance to Carol.

Carol - Dad 001

At age five, she sang “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” with her dad at a square dance.

   Even though Carol sang with her dad on stage at the age of five, it was in high school that the singing bug really bit her. She sang the leading role of Laurie in Oklahoma, followed by many more leading roles. By the time she was a senior, she was invited to enter the Miss Kansas City pageant, which she won singing “Love Is Where You Find It” and “Clap Your Hands”.

   While studying at the University of Kansas she performed leading roles such as Maria in West Side Story, and Marion in The Music Man. She heard her first opera there when the Metropolitan Opera Touring Company came to perform. Carol smiled, “I fell in love with their thrilling singing.” Shortly thereafter, she had a chance to perform as the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro, still her favorite Mozart opera.

Carol Captain Jinks

Carol performed as Aurelia in the opera, Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines.

   During college summers, Carol apprenticed herself at Central City, Co. and Santa Fe Opera companies. Upon graduation, she decided she would try a career in the opera and where better to do that than The Big Apple. While working toward her master’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music, she was invited to audition for the Metropolitan Opera. She was offered an artist contract and was soon busy learning new operatic roles.

Carol Barber of Seville

In the comic opera, Barber of Seville, Carol appeared as Rosina.

   Her list of performances is quite extensive and can’t possibly be listed here. In addition to her roles with the Metropolitan Opera in NYC, she has sung leading roles throughout the US and Canada, including the Washington Opera at Kennedy Center, Philadelphia, Miami, Houston Grand Opera, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, and many others.

Carol Opera 001

Carol sang in Perichole at the Kansas City Lyric Opera.

   She has performed and enjoyed music theatre roles with St. Louis MUNY Theatre, KC Starlight, Blossom Festival, Caramoor Festival, and others. Carol has appeared on Broadway, sung over 100 recitals, and recorded for RCA and CRI, and has been a featured soloist with many symphonies.

   “It’s not just the beautiful voice, but her overall performance that projects feelings and words,” explained a conductor at the Lyric Opera. “I’ve never known Miss Wilcox to give a bad performance.”

Carol - dalmations

Carol and her family’s dalmatians appeared on the cover of Star in 1975 when she appeared at the Lyric Opera in Kansas City.

   One summer, when Carol was performing at the Lyric Opera Co. in Kansas City, there was also a young man, Robert Jones, under contract. Robert spotted the lovely lady with the beautiful voice and became her biggest fan. A year later, they were married.

Carol and Robert 001

Robert Owen Jones and Carol Wilcox-Jones perform here in  “Die Fledermaus”, an operetta by Johann Strass II.

   Robert was that old-fashioned guy she admired, and family had always been important to her. After their marriage and the birth of their son, Chris, they moved to New Concord where Robert taught music as Director of Vocal Activities at Muskingum College. The couple also happily welcomed their second child, Jennie, to their family.

Carol's Family

Carol, Bob, Jennie and Chris enjoy singing together as The Jones Family.

   Carol was soon invited to join the music faculty at Muskingum as Artist-in-Residence and taught voice, as well as helped develop the Music Theatre minor now offered at Muskingum University. Carol also holds a Master of Arts in Vocal Pedagogy Degree from the Ohio State University and continues to Direct of the Summer High School Music Theatre CAMP, a program she created in 2006. Her reason for being involved is simply: “I support young people and through music, I open as many windows as I can for them.”

Carol Summer Music Camp

The High School Summer Music Theatre CAMP at Muskingum University has been directed by Carol since 2006.

   Carol’s musical background contains many degrees, extensive performing and teaching experience, but it’s her application of all this knowledge that makes Carol such a valuable asset to the groups she works with.

   Robert and Carol had been fans of the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival for years. When Robert retired, he volunteered to schedule the musical portion of the Festival, and it followed that Carol assisted him before she became also involved with fundraising.

   Last year, Carol became Director of the Festival. Even though she didn’t feel experienced, the festival turned out to be wonderful and was indeed a happy place to spend the weekend for both artists and visitors.

Carol-Wilcox-Jones-Chamber Award 2

Carol received the Distinguished Service Award for her role in reviving the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival.

   Her role in reviving the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival earned her the Distinguished Public Service Award. Her time and energy devoted to this project have been phenomenal. Connections with various groups and businesses in the community have made it possible to continue financing this popular three-day event.

Carol and Robert BASH

Robert and Carol entertained at the Salt Fork BASH, accompanied by Preservation Dixieland All-Star Band.

   One special event, the Festival BASH, became their signature fundraiser. The support of the community has been outstanding, seen through the participation and success of the BASH, which is an evening filled with visiting friends, delicious food, outstanding music, and many prizes and silent auctions.

   Carol does not take credit for all this herself. She has a very active board of trustees who also head up Festival Committees and work tirelessly to produce the Festival with the help of many volunteers. “I’m very proud of all those who have made it possible. The Festival leaders have kept this Festival going for nearly 50 years! That’s pretty incredible!”

50th Anniversary

Carol works with a great group of volunteers as they prepare for the 50th Anniversary.

   The next big project is working with a 50th Anniversary Blue Ribbon Committee for the 2019 festival. There are plans to begin building an enhanced entranceway to the park at Edgeworth Street that will be a permanent feature and reminder of the festival for future generations.

   Now, she’s looking forward to the 49th Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival, August 10-12, 2018. Summing up her Festival feelings, she enthusiastically remarked, “The Festival experience – the creative arts, demonstrations, concerts, and activities- are offered free to the public. It’s an uplifting, community-building celebration with a great combination of quality visual and performing arts and delicious foods offered in the beautiful outdoor setting at Cambridge City Park. What’s not to love?”

Heartland Travel Showcase 2018

Foggy Buffalo

This foggy view from our hotel room featured the new Metro Rail.

Last week I had the opportunity to participate in the 2018 Heartland Travel Showcase to let others know about attractions and events in the Cambridge, Ohio area, and especially tell them about Dickens Victorian Village.  It’s always a pleasure to tell others about your hometown.

Buffalo, New York hosted the 2018 Heartland Travel Showcase. Arriving by coach with several other travel associates, we were greeted by a fog covered Buffalo due to warm temperatures and a still frozen Lake Erie.

Hyatt entrance

The lobby of the luxurious Hyatt Regency Hotel welcomed us.

After getting settled into the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Buffalo, it was time to have dinner with fellow travelers. These travel showcases are the perfect place to make new connections for future tours.

Tourism Reception

Barb, January and Carol enjoyed meeting friends at one of the receptions.

Heartland is where booking group travel is a Heart-to-Heart business. Numerous occasions provide a chance to network with others. It’s also the place where you can create a more personal relationship with possible clients during receptions and meetings.

Chocolate

A couple chocolate samples still untouched. The Goo Goo Cluster was created and distributed by the Grand Ole Opry.

Treats were non-stop from the time we stepped on the charter coach, where a box of chocolates were passed around. The Chocolate Tasting continued day after day with many chocolate treats being given in the form of candy or desserts.

Heartland Aisles

Exhibitor booths were placed in nine long aisles for ease of locating.

Contacts, leads, ideas and bookings are what Heartland is all about. With over two hundred exhibitors and sixty tour operators at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, it’s a great chance to learn more about the travel industry as you meet new people and learn about their wants and needs.

Teddy Roosevelt

President Theodore Roosevelt told us about some of his accomplishments. Buffalo served as his Inauguration site after the assassination of Pres. McKinley.

An exciting forum gave newcomers a chance to learn from more experienced faces in the tour industry. Technology has changed the face of the industry as more publicity is being done via social media. They stressed the importance of promoting posts as well as using keywords to help people connect.

Potential Client

Cambridge tourism partners, Bev and Dixie, explain local attractions to a tour company.

Much of the three day session was spent one-on-one with tour directors meeting exhibitors and learning more about their places to visit. What a difficult job they would have in deciding as each place sounded like the perfect place for a group tour.

Dinner guests

Exhibitors Mary, Mary and Chris sparkled during an evening reception at the Lafayette Brewery.

You could schedule up to forty meetings with various group leaders. The rest of the time was spent either visiting other people’s booths or talking to people who stopped by your booth. Communication about travel was the name of the game.

Return Bus

Three days later, the coach was loaded for the return trip home.

The event definitely spread the word about an event or destination. Most attending say it is their favorite travel show of the year. It is one of the friendliest places you can imagine.

Buffalo Skyline

This painting of the skyline of Buffalo hung in the walkway to the Convention Center.

Shuffle off to Buffalo or your favorite travel destination sometime soon. New places await your exploration.

It’s Snowing in Cambridge, Ohio

dickens-snow

‘Snowing’ the scene is one of the final touches in the warehouse by Cindy and Shana.

Oh the weather outside’s been frightful…frightfully hot that is. But inside Dickens Universal, it’s snowing! The crew at Dickens Victorian Village is busy replacing the layer of snow on 67  scene platforms.

Some think that the scenes are placed on the street in the fall, returned to storage, and then magically appear again the next year. This is not the case, as much hard labor in many areas is necessary to repair the winter damage.

The Creation Team, who make and maintain the mannequins, works all year round so the figures will look excellent when placed on the streets in late October. There’s usually a month off in January to let them dry out from snow and rain. Then the work begins.

Last winter wasn’t a terrible winter, but still freezing and thawing plus the wind caused great damage to heads and clothing alike. “The Travelers” provide a great example of some of the possible problems to be encountered.

lindy-and-tom-replace-a-shirt

Lindy gets help from Tom putting a new shirt on this mannequin..

The lady needed a new skirt this year and it has been discovered that upholstery material is often one of the best choices. Cotton does not hold up well. Donated clothing and material are appreciated and used as often as possible. Making new clothes requires time at home at a sewing machine as well as time in Dickens Universal, where mannequins are stored.

One very time consuming detail happens when each item has to be tacked down, or they would blow away when on the street. For example, a scarf must be stitched meticulously to the jacket. This could take a couple hours to make it secure enough to hold through the strongest wind.

shana-paints-a-face

Touching up the heads seems a never ending job. Just ask volunteer, Shana.

Their heads need some repair each year. Often it is just a touch-up of paint, but sometimes the weather causes the clay used in making the heads to crack, much like our highways. When water gets in that crack, it expands creating bigger problems.Paint cracks and varnish turns yellow, so repairs are necessary if they are to look presentable on the street for the season.

john-and-annie-glenn

Annie and John Glenn take their place on Wheeling Avenue this year. Sharon had to adjust John’s neck to fit just right.

Once in a while the entire side of a face may peel off, causing either cracks to be filled or a new head to be made. Hats in some ways protect the heads, but in others they cause a problem as mildew forms under the hats that tend to hold dampness.

universal-chuck

Making and repairing the frames has received great help this season from Chuck.

Inside each figure is a basic frame of 2 x 4s  and they all set on a raised platform to keep them off the ground and make them more easily seen on Wheeling Avenue. This is going to be the 11th year for Dickens Victorian Village, so some of these must also be replaced.

bob-and-lindy

Even founder, Bob, helps with ‘snowing’ as Lindy passes by with a clean shirt for another figure.

Around the base of each platform, a plastic skirt gives it a finished look. All skirts must be removed each year and thoroughly cleaned. Then snow is placed on the top of the platform in the form of white plastic, which is stapled in place.

sitting-mannequins

For now, those finished Victorian characters sit waiting for the end of October so they can make their annual trip to downtown Cambridge.

You can see that for “The Travelers” to be ready to make their journey in the fall, much time has to be spent for at least nine months of the year. Right now, even though there is no AC in the warehouse and work is frightfully hot, it’s snow time at Dickens Victorian Village.

Let it snow! Let it snow!  Let it snow!

 

 

Coshocton Canal Quilters Have a Stichin’ Good Time

Quilt Room

The Conference Room at the Carlisle Inn was a quilter’s paradise.

Imagine your favorite getaway. It might be the ocean, the mountains or a cruise to a faraway place. That’s not the case with the ladies from the Coshocton Canal Quilters. A weekend retreat with all their sewing gear and good friends fits the bill for them. All their work was displayed recently at their 29th Annual Quilt Show, “Sunshine, Lollipops & Rainbows”.

This year the Carlisle Inn in Sugarcreek served as headquarters for a weekend retreat for fifty-eight ladies of all ages. This being my first visit to a retreat, walking into the conference room where it was held filled me with wonder and excitement.

Quilt - Oldest

This member’s interest in quilting began back when, at the age of four, she played under her grandmother’s quilting rack.

They had all brought their sewing machines, tables, chairs, lamps, materials, all their sewing tools…and of course, snacks. How could all that have fit in their cars?

But everyone was having a good time with no obligations other than enjoying quilting and talking to their friends. The social part of the retreat seemed to be very important.

Their project this year was to make a Crow Quilt for the Crow Festival since Coshocton is often referred to as Crow Town. The ladies seemed to think the crows were pretty smart birds and knew how to live together well.  Perhaps they could teach people a lesson.

Each person is asked to finish one crow square for the quilt. While every crow turned out to be quite unique, they had to have three basic characteristics: a black crow, orange beak, and orange feet. Most of them had a sparkle of bling added someplace in the design.

The quilt will then be raffled off at The Pomerene Center for the Arts in October with proceeds to be used for the groups’ projects. This is a busy group as their guild has over a hundred members. When not making quilts for themselves or their family, they make quilts for veterans, chemo patients, battered women’s shelter, James Cancer center, and more.

Quilt WV

This quilt was made for a family member, who is a big fan of WVU.

This large family of quilters comes together for retreats because they want to have fun. One person said, “We let our hair down. It’s a big slumber party.” They encourage each other no matter how many times the threads of motherly patience, health and sanity keep breaking through their lives. The human connection might be as comforting as the quilts they produce.

Gambling might even be part of their day! Left, Right, Center is played here with bundles of fabric, called “fat quarters”, being used instead of cash. The winner takes all!

Quilt Gladys

A good friend works on her Multiple Madness quilt design, while enjoying the company of so many great friends.

Beautiful patterns surround you here and each quilt will become a treasure for someone. A pattern that is one of my favorites has a proper name of “Kaleidoscope Dresden Plate Pattern”, but it is more commonly called “Multiple Madness”. Once you make one quilt using this pattern, you have to keep making them.

This weekend also provides inspiration to try something new. Speakers have special workshops to make a quilted item, or give ideas for future projects. Talking with others about their projects, sparks the imagination to try something new. Words of encouragement are frequent.

Quilt TN Tees

This lady traveled from Tennessee to visit with friends and finish her tee-shirt quilt.

A popular item at the show was tee-shirt quilts. They could be of any size from throw to queen size and contain someone’s old tee shirts. Someone had recently lost their husband and a friend was making her a quilt of his old tee shirts to cuddle up to on a cold night.

Some of the ladies took a lunch break. Where do you think they went? To buy fabric! They came back remembering a special fabric they had seen in which aisle at a particular store.

Quilt New SMThe highlight of the visit occurred with the story of a lady whose sewing machine stopped working the first night she was there. As a surprise, the next morning her husband brought her a brand new sewing machine. What a guy! He’s sew special.

Upon returning home, my tee shirts were checked out carefully. Which ones might make a good quilt for a gypsy?

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