Editor’s note: This is the fifth in a series of stories that will promote the activities planned to commemorate Tawawa Park, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year with events in the park, June 30. Today: crafters and history talk.
SIDNEY — Jim Hall, of Sidney, has loved Tawawa Park since he was a child, and he has been studying its history for some 12 years, so it’s fitting he give a talk on that history during the June 30 celebration marking the 70th anniversary of the park.
In a presentation that has been organized by Dave Ross, of Fort Loramie, Hall will discuss the people who developed the park, the fallen servicemen who are memorialized along Veterans Walkway and the stories behind popular areas of Sidney’s treasured greenspace.
“Jim will be followed by Sidney’s Director of Parks and Recreation, Duane Gaier, who will offer a current update with a view of the future,” Ross, who will make opening remarks, said. Two presentations are planned: one at 11 a.m. and one at 3 p.m.
“The three of us will be available after each session to chat with attendees,” he added.
It was when he retired in 2006 that Hall began daily walks in Tawawa Park.
“I got interested in how the park developed,” he said. So he went to the Internet for answers to his questions.
“I got some things from Rich Wallace’s book,” he added. Wallace, a local historian, published “Voices of the Past.” It is available at the Ross Historical Center, 201 N. Main Ave.
But much of what Hall has learned has come from people he has met during his walks.
“I talk to people,” he said. “There’s a large number of people who walk the park or cut trees or volunteer and they all have stories. I try to educate myself every day. I’d go to a different part of the park every day, so I’d read thesigns ortalk to the volunteers. I try to take a different path every day. There are some very informative signs that are helpful if you take the time to read them.”
When pressed to name his favorite area in Tawawa Park, Hall hesitated.
“That’s hard to say. The (former) Girl Scout camp — I find that quite remarkable,” he said.
Ross, Hall and Gaier hope their talk will generate enthusiasm and get people to take advantage of what Tawawa Park has to offer.
“It is just a magical place. They’ve seen albino deer there; they’ve seen eagles. It’s got everything,” Hall said.
Artists to demonstrate crafts, sell work
Darla Cabe, of Sidney, has coordinated a crafters event for the anniversary celebration. Area artists will show the public how they create their art and will have pieces for sale.
One of them, Rick Cartwright, of Piqua, offers nature photography printed on glass, metal or canvas, as well as paper.
“I retired at 60, got prostate cancer. I had my prostate taken out on my 60th birthday and retired a month later. I decided I need to spend time on my passion. My passion is wildlife photography,” he said. “For me, it’s aboutsharing that richness of nature. There’s so much people don’t see. I love to take those pictures and share them.”
He uses a Nikon camera and a Sigma lens that permit him to get close-ups of even tiny birds from more than 100 yards away.
“I got a photo of an eagle along the Miami River at 125 yards. There’s a nest with a mom and dad and two baby eagles,” he noted.
Cartwright spends two or more hours each day behind his camera. He has taken pictures in his own backyard and around the world.
“Three years ago, I learned about a place in Florida that prints on glass. I took a picture of Lake Champlain (in Vermont). I sent it to them. A glass picture is unique. There’s no frame. That makes it very special. Glass is my favorite medium because of the look,” he said. But he likes the photos on metal, too.
“The metal is mindblowing. It doesn’t look like metal. The colors are deeper,” he said.
The photographer doesn’t do his own printing in any medium, but he does edit his photos on an iPad. He crops out as much as half of the photograph.
“Sometimes you get more than you want in the picture,” he said.
Cabe was particular about which crafters she invited to participate in the show in Tawawa Park.
“Since this is a historic event, I invited artists and craftspeople who had skills that would have been used in earlier times, things like blacksmithing, fiber arts, needlework, painting and woodworking. I also tried to select artists and crafters who could demonstrate their art while the event was going on. The artists will not only be selling their creations, but guests can actually watch the creative process take place. There is a nice variety of local talent and something of interest for lots of folks,” she said.
The booths will be in Wagner Glade from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Other crafters participating include Linda Wenrick, crochet, tatting, spool knitting; MaKenna Cabe, painting; Jennifer and Cory Heffelfinger, woodworking; Jack Howison, blacksmithing; Joyce Robertson, painting; Lucy Chapman, natural wools and fiber arts; Russell Blystone, woodworking; Vicki Fulk, baby items, blankets; Erin Robertson, tie-dyed fabrics; and Christine Smith, embroidery, handmade dolls, jewelry.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.