HARDIN — Now that the observance of the Shelby County Bicentennial celebration is officially underway, the commemoration of the county’s history now moves on to the many communities contained within. Most fitting, the first community to celebrate the Shelby County Bicentennial will be Hardin, the first county seat, although for only a short time.
The celebration will be held Saturday, April 27, in the village of Hardin
It is hoped that many Shelby County and area residents will turn out for the celebration of the community that played such a vital role in the settlement and progress of the area. To accommodate the visitors, parking will be available at the former site of Hardin–Houston Elementary School. Shuttles will take the public back and forth from the parking area to the center of Hardin. The shuttle service is being provided by the Shelby County Antique Power Association.
Many events will be taking place that day, and. activities will commence at 10 a.m. and continue until 5 p.m.
The proceedings will formally begin at 10 a.m. with a welcoming statement by Eric Ditmer, who is coordinating the Hardin area portion of the Shelby County Bicentennial celebration. Ditmer grew up on a farm south of Hardin, where the first brick home ever constructed in Shelby County still stands.
Next will be the entrance of the Shelby County flag, lead by Sheriff John Lenhart. Boy Scout Troop 97 will follow with the presentation of the flag, and the Hardin-Houston High School Band will perform the National Anthem. The next item on the agenda will be a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
A proclamation of the event will be announced by Shelby County Commissioner Robert Guillozet. The next item on the agenda will be a brief presentation on the history of the Hardin community by Terry Pellman, who grew up there.
Lenhart will then provide a history of law enforcement in Shelby County. Following Lenhart’s address, Col. Michael Bennett will make a presentation of the Veteran’s Bridge Plaque. The plaques are being placed on bridges around Shelby County to commemorate those who died in the service of our nation.
There will be an abundance of opportunities for attendees to enjoy the gathering. There will be an antique quilt exhibit inside the Hardin United Methodist Church. Be sure to stop by and check out the skilled handiwork involved in the making of these unique and prized possessions.
There will also be a children’s art show at the Crossings church building across from Hardin United Methodist Church. That is the building known to many as the site of the former Compromise Grange Hall.
An auto cruise-in being coordinated by Kurt Anderson will take place at and adjacent to Purpose Driven Motors, the used vehicle dealership in Hardin. The dealership is located in the building that formerly served as a hardware store under at least two different proprietors. Anderson explains that the show is open for anyone who wishes to bring a vehicle of interest, whether it be a car, truck or motorcycle.
You will not need to go hungry while taking in the events. A food truck operated by Vic Klingelhofer will be on hand to serve the visitors. Vic’s Country Cooking will be serving up pulled pork, brisket and shredded chicken sandwiches, along with chicken and noodles and beef and noodles. There will also be pie and apple dumplings.
Be sure to check out a special jail exhibit that is being provided for the occasion. Lenhart said the purpose of the jail is to show what a jail from that era was like. He notes the structure is being donated by LACAL Equipment of Jackson Center. The 7-foot tall jail replica will also be on display at other Shelby County communities as the bicentennial celebration moves ahead.
A series of musical programs will begin at 11 a.m. with a performance by the Hardin-Houston Local Elementary School Choir. And then at noon, the Sidney based musical quartet known as Stratford Strings will perform. They will be followed at 1:00 by the Irish Strings from Sidney.
And then, at 2 p.m., the St. John’s Bells from St. John’s Lutheran Church in Sidney will be performing. At 3 p.m., attendees will be entertained by Stephanie and Jonathan Hale.
The final musical performance will be provided by the well-known performer Timmy G . He will be on hand at 4 p.m. to round out the entertainment portion of the day.
At the end of the day, the Shelby County flag will be presented to Barbara Ditmer. She will take it to the historic Wilson-Lennox House on the Ditmer property south of Hardin, the first brick house built in Shelby County. On May 7, 8, and 9, third-graders from all the Shelby County schools will have an opportunity to go to the historic residence to see how life was lived in bygone days.
The celebration will be a great time for people to learn more about the history of Shelby County and the Hardin area in particular. It is hoped that many individuals will take this opportunity to become better acquainted with local history, and to have the opportunity to reconnect with friends and neighbors.