By Art Hunter
Batavia’s bicentennial celebration, which has been years in the making, will get underway Wednesday, Aug. 6 with a concert by the Clermont Philharmonic Orchestra.
The free concert will begin at 7 p.m. on the courthouse square. The concert is being sponsored by the Clermont County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and marks the beginning of five days of activities being held to mark the founding of the village.
Mayor John Thebout said that discussions about the celebration began several years ago when the feasibility of the Main Street renovation project was first being considered. The project, which included street resurfacing and new sidewalks, lighting, and landscaping, was completed in June.
“We wanted to bring people and businesses back to the village, but we knew that the 200th anniversary was coming up,” Thebout said. “That’s what really got us going on both projects – we thought it would be nice if we could get our street done by the time the bicentennial got here.”
Thebout, who was a senior at Williamsburg High School 50 years ago in 1964, says he remembers the village’s sesquicentennial celebrations well. He said that while that celebration focused on the village’s foundings, this celebration will focus more on the past 50 years.
Thebout said that Richard Jamieson, who was the village’s mayor in 1964, will be the grand marshal of the bicentennial parade, which will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday.
“It looks like the parade is going to be very big, and very nice,” Thebout said.
Village administrator Dennis Nichols said that the historical home walking tour, which will be held from 2 – 6 p.m. Sunday, will be one of the best parts of the celebration.
“Kathy McCoy-Leone has been doing a nice job of organizing the home tour,” Nichols said. “It’s been kind of a low-key event, it’s not getting a lot of fanfare, but I think it is going to be one of the high points of the whole celebration.”
There will also be historical displays set up in the village’s offices at Fourth and Main streets.
During the celebration, a new theater group, The Batavia Theatre Project, will give its first performances. Founded by Adam and Laura Haskell, the group will perform Shakespeare’s “A Midnight Summer’s Dream” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7, at Sycamore Park on State Route 132. The troupe will also perform “A Dramatic Retelling of Our Village’s History” and “Our Town” Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
The Grassy Run Historical Arts Committee will have a campsite set up, and members will demonstrate pioneer cooking, rope making, spinning and weaving, and more historical skills.
The celebration will be held in conjunction with the annual Taste of Clermont, which will open Friday at 5 p.m., and will feature music, food booths, carnival rides for the kids, pony rides and a petting zoo.
There will also be a fireworks display, which will be visible from anywhere on Main Street, at 10 p.m. Saturday.
A complete schedule of events can be found online at www.bataviavillage.org.