Members of the Big Walnut Area Historical Society will hold their annual Heritage Day from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 4, at the Myers Inn Museum in Sunbury.
Myers Inn curator Polly Horn said Heritage Day began in 1993 on Sunbury Square and moved to the Myers Inn when the former Rotary Cruise-In part of Heritage Day needed more room to display antique vehicles on the square.
The cruise-in moved on to Big Walnut High School; then, with new sponsors, moved to the former IGA Plaza; and this year will be held at Sunbury Mills (Kroger) Plaza. But the Heritage Day venue remains at the Myers Inn.
Each year Heritage Day has a theme, and this year’s theme will center on the Big Walnut area’s military veterans.
“As a Big Walnut Area Historical Society project in 1976, myself, Suzanne Allen and Beth Williams began marking graves of American Revolutionary War soldiers buried in Big Walnut area cemeteries,” Horn said. “It soon became obvious this was too big a task for just three women so the American Legion and the members from Allen’s 4-H Club, Sunbury Halter & Saddle, joined the project which now honors soldiers before Memorial Day and Veterans Day.”
Horn said Allen is chairing this year’s Heritage Day committee; she suggested the event honor veterans, sharing the area’s military contributions with the community.
Horn said that while collecting stories for “More About Our Past in the Big Walnut Community, Volume 2,” Suzanne Allen came across a little-known group from the 1950s who worked to keep Big Walnut area residents safe – the Sunbury Ground Observer Corps. A few former members of the Sunbury Ground Observer Corps will be available at Heritage Day to explain their part in the unusual 1950s civil defense volunteer activity.
Bob Cheadle, a former U.S. Army paratrooper who served in World War II and Korea, will have a display and talk about his experiences while in the service.
Bill Kavage will display his collection of Civil War memorabilia; and Rick Helwig and the honorable Henry Shaw will be in the blacksmith shop working on a Civil War cannon.
American Legion Post 457 and the Ohio Fallen Heroes Memorial will have displays of more recent wars and share experiences with visitors.
There will be refreshments, and Dave Martin will entertain with wartime music.
The Myers Inn Museum will be open for tours throughout the afternoon. The gift shop will be open with local memorabilia for sale and will take orders for Suzanne Allen’s 400-page book, “More About Our Past in the Big Walnut Community.”
Additional Heritage Day information is available at BigWalnutHistory.org and at the Myers Inn Museum, 45 S. Columbus St., Sunbury.
Horn said that if anyone has family veteran’s memorabilia they would like to display or share with visitors at Heritage Day, call 740-964-1154 and leave a message and someone will return your call.
The Myers Inn Museum is open from noon to 3 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays; and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093