LEWISBURG — The Village of Lewisburg held its first ever Harvest Festival on Saturday, Oct. 20. The new festival brought vendors together with local businesses to promote the downtown area which has been revitalized with the help of grant funding.
During the festival, the bicentennial time capsule was unveiled and the downtown was rededicated.
According to Mandy Pahl, Owner of Paisley Perfect Photography, the festival began as a way to give back to the community and bring some seasonal fun to downtown Lewisburg.
“We have the vendors down on Dayton Street, various crafts and baked goods. We have pumpkin painting for the kids. At 2 p.m. we’re going to have a State of the Village address by the (Lewisburg) Chamber of Commerce. Then we’re going to have the costume contest and the pumpkin carving contest,” Pahl said.
“We want to make this festival bigger and better every year and make it something for families to enjoy. I think it is good to get the community out and involved and spending time together.”
During the dedication ceremony, Preble County Commissioner Chris Day started his speech by thanking the Lewisburg business owners for their participation and support.
“This is a new grant that we never had gone down before. With new grants there are always challenges, but we got through those and I think we learned a lot, but I really want to thank Jeff Sewert,” Day said. “If you look around and see what this has done for your community, it has cleaned a lot of stuff up and has helped businesses. Your downtown community looks great right now. I hope that we can do this for other communities as we move forward. One of the toughest things to do, and a guy told me this years ago, the hardest thing to do is to give away money. We are fortunate enough to get some grants, loans, and things of that nature. We have to sit down and decided what is the best project and how we can fund the best project.”
“I know sometimes it is tough when we award grants for one community and not the other, but hopefully people can see that when we put a good project together, this is what we end up with,” Day said.
Lewisburg Mayor Marsha Jones thanked those who awarded the grant and all those who participated in the Downtown Revitalization Project. She also thanked the Preble County Commissioners for submitting the application and use of grant funds. She then thanked Susan Laux of Mote and Associates for all of her help with the project.
The 2018 time capsule includes photographs of scenes and people from the Lewisburg area, newspapers and articles, the Bicentennial Book, Bicentennial merchandise, donated items, and other items of interest.
A new mural, painted by Ed Wright and his team, was also dedicated. The painting depicts the 1939 view of Lewisburg’s downtown Commerce Street. In thanks, the team was presented with a canvas prepared by Paisley Perfect Photography. Wright presented Municipal Manager Jeff Sewert and Pam Baker with his own gift.
Jackie Gross, with Yankee Clover Mercantile, talked about her connection to the downtown and her passion for the revitalization program.
“We opened the store, primarily, because we had an overflow of collection. So, we revitalized the building. Prior to that, we opened National Trail Antiques and had that for two years. There has always been an endearing quality about this village. My customers who come now, come from a 45 minute radius and you would be amazed that 99 percent of them just fall in love with this town when they come in,” she said.
“The Downtown Revitilzation Grant was amazing for this town. I know Jeff [Sewert] applied for this grant a few times and his perseverance is amazing,” Gross said. “Everyone should be proud to live here — I know we are. The village staff is amazing, during the grant program anytime we needed something they would do anything we asked them to.”
The Village of Lewisburg was named Lewisburg’s Business of the Year by the Lewisburg Chamber of Commerce. The business owners were led in a ribbon cutting for the new, revitalized, downtown.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH