SIDNEY — When the Shelby County Historical Society brought the AVTT-TWF Traveling Wall to Sidney in 2015, some 2,500 area motorcyclists joined to escort it from Wapakoneta to Sidney.
“It won’t surprise us to see that again, Wednesday,” said Tilda Phlipot, historical society director. The wall will be on exhibit in Custenborder Park, 449 Riverside Drive, from Thursday through Sunday. It was originally scheduled to be here in May 2020, as part of the city’s bicentennial celebrations, but the exhibit was postponed due to the pandemic.
Because the biker escort will stop only for emergency vehicles, traffic along the route may be disrupted and residents along the route may not be able to get into or out of their driveways from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 15.
Police and sheriff departments will accompany the escort. Some fire departments along the route will cross ladders over the street and hang flags from them, under which the bikers will pass.
The route will take the parade of motorcycles and the truck with the wall from Wapakoneta through Botkins, Anna, and Sidney, as well as through unincorporated areas of Auglaize and Shelby Counties and around the courtsquare in Sidney. The escort ends as the traveling wall enters Custenborder Park.
“You don’t have to be a veteran to ride.” Phlipot said. “The escort will meet the wall at the Wapakoneta VFW, 712 N. Dixie Hwy., at 5:30 p.m. at the latest, and bikers should plan to enter Wapakoneta from the north or east or west, but not from the south on Highway 25A.”
The event committee will distribute flyers to residents and businesses along the route to alert them to the parade of motorcycles.
“We hope people will be outside to honor the people whose names are on that wall,” Phlipot said.
Volunteers will erect the wall in the park, Thursday morning, and it will be open to the public 24 hours a day until 3 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 19.
Thursday at 7 p.m., the Sidney Civic Band will perform a concert of patriotic music and audience favorites at the wall. The concert immediately follows opening ceremonies featuring a talk by Vietnam War POW Guy Gruters that begin at 5:30 p.m. Both events are free. Attendees should take lawn chairs.
The city of Sidney has sponsored the exhibit of the traveling wall. Events surrounding the exhibit during the week include a field of crosses, school tours, speakers, a classic rock band concert, a cruise-in and bridge dedication, and closing ceremonies.
In addition to city funding, the following donors have made the project possible: Steve and Peggy Baker, Ohio State Eagles Charity Fund, Airstream, John and Kathy Amos, Chained Eagles of Ohio, Detailed Machining, Goffena Furniture and Mattress, Dennis Ely, Ferguson Construction, Ron and Patricia Francis, Helman Brothers Body Shop, Mike and Kathy Hayes.
Also Blanche McClain, MidWest Ohio Dental Care, Performance Powder Coat, Sollmann Electric Company, Richard and Jackie Thoma, VFW Post 4239, Helen Blake Wildermuth, Greg and Priscilla Wilt, Buckeye Ford Lincoln, Buckeye Metal and More, John Coffield, Cromes-Edwards Funeral Home, Eck Refrigeration Inc, Debra Geuy, Brenda Hall, Johanna Kuhn, Cheryl Michael.
Also Ken and Mary Beth Monnier, Osgood State Bank, Ruese Insurance Agency, Mark and Jeanne Schlagetter, Tom and Sandy Shoemaker, VFW Post 8445 – VFW Wars of Ohio Charities, Woodland View Equine Service-Michael D. Kline DVM, and an anonymous donor.