SIDNEY — In an effort to honor those men and women that were instrumental in purchasing the land and developing Tawawa Park in 1948, the Shelby County Historical Society programmed and promoted a 70th anniversary party for this city gem.
“The event started in the morning with a Fun Run/Walk and offered craft and food vendors throughout the day, along with several programs for visitors to attend. For the kids, there were crafts, fishing derby and a bike rodeo on a dirt, pump track brought in for the event. Families also had activities to attend such as a bird study, a historical interpretation of Tawawa and a classic car cruise in,” said Duane Gaier, Sidney Parks and Recreation director. “There were several hundred show cars at the event, which included a, Honda NSX super-car, Ford GT and even a truck mounted carnival shooting gallery that was restored to a “like new” condition. One would wonder if the founders would have envisioned what Tawawa looks like these seven decades later?”
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Speaking of Tawawa Park, the number of shelter reservations again increase from the previous year. There were 632 shelter reservations made in Tawawa Park during last summer’s picnic season. Company picnics, weddings, family reunions, birthday parties and many other events were celebrated by family and friends in Tawawa. There is no charge for the use of a shelter, all you need to do is call the parks office at 937-498-8155 and make a reservation.
The attendance numbers for the recreation and food programs increased again this summer. Parks staff offered 31 clinics, up from 27 programs in 2017. At 253 children, the arts and crafts clinic was the highest attendance for the summer. The total 2018 clinic attendees totaled 1674 kids, which is up from the 1,400 in 2017. By adding Harmon Park to the schedule, lunch is now served to the children at nine different locations around the city. The number of meals served also increased, going from 7,000 in 2017 meals to 7,307 last summer.
At the water park, there was an increase in registration for the free summer swimming lessons. 2017 had 267 participants learn water safety; this number grew to 302 in 2018. The lifeguards worked with participants of varying levels of skill to improve their abilities and increase their confidence in and around water. Because of this preparation, the water park staff continues to see the number of rescues go down at the Sidney Water Park.
The biennial Civil War event in Tawawa Park was again well attended by the re-enactors and visitors. The September living history lesson, that displayed the life in the war that put brother against brother, endured dry but hot weather. The battles over the covered bridge and skirmishes throughout the park between confederate and union soldiers were entertaining and enlightening. We look forward to hosting the Shelby County Historical Society’s event again in 2020 when Sidney celebrates its bicentennial.
In 2018 you will see a new historic feature installed in Tawawa Park. A bowstring truss bridge, built by the King Bridge and Iron Company in 1879 will be installed over Amos Lake in Tawawa. This bridge is one of only two known to remain in the state that was constructed by the King Bridge Company from Cleveland, Ohio. Also significant to local history is the bridge was built over Loramie Creek, adjacent to the Miami & Erie Canal. The other half of the dual span bridge was destroyed during the 1913 flood. This will be another addition to the diverse pedestrian trail system in Tawawa.