County Day 2003
Guild created event
to show community pride
Helen E. McKinney
LA GRANGE, Ky. (July 2003) -If the founding fathers
of Oldham County could have seen into the future, they would probably
have been proud of the efforts of the Project Guild to bring people
in the community together.
Oldham County was established in 1824 from parts of Shelby, Henry and
Jefferson counties. It has grown since then to become a home to farmers,
factory workers, artists and executives. As the largest city and county
seat, La Grange plays host to the annual Oldham County Day, an event
sponsored by Project Guild.
Established in August 1964, Project Guild of La Grange Inc. was first
composed of 14 young homemakers. These charter members met to share
project ideas. After a while, they decided it was time to do something
for the community, said Victoria Motyka, vice president and Oldham
County Day chairperson. The members wanted to establish a fun,
old-fashioned day, said Motyka.
by Don Ward
Leslie Biss and Mary Broecker
This need to serve their community evolved into the annual
Oldham County Day, held the third Saturday in July. Since 1971, Project
Guild has played host to this opportunity to celebrate community pride
and provide fun for people of all ages.
Nancy Crass was president of the Guild then, and many current members
credit her with the idea of beginning Oldham County Day. Crass came
from a small town that celebrated community pride. She envisioned a
day that would be a reunion. And it has been. People return every
year for this event.
Crass instigated a concept that would honor the countys heritage
as well. In keeping with the idea of an old-fashioned day, she said
members of the Guild wore long dresses for the first Oldham County Day.
Only a handful of booths were on the courthouse lawn; one contained
homemade ice cream, and the Project Guilds booth had real
lemonade for sale, she said.
One staple of Oldham County Day is its 10 a.m. parade through town.
When Motyka moved to Oldham County, she said she was in awe of
the parade. Having always lived in small towns, she felt a desire
to become involved in community service in the town in which she lived.
The Project Guild provided her this chance.
Every parade has had a grand marshal. This year the honor goes to Paul
Clinton. After Clinton was chosen, a theme was developed to coincide
with Clintons achievements. This years theme is Green
Paths to Preservation.
The theme reflects Clintons many contributions to the county.
Guild treasurer Mary Broecker cited Clintons involvement with
the Greenways Interurban Trail, a proposed 13-mile walking-bike trail
stretching from La Grange to Pewee Valley, as one of his most outstanding
Broecker said Clinton was the first person to really start bringing
people together for Yew Dell Gardens. Yew Dell Gardens is an important
historical and cultural resource comprised of the former Crestwood farm
of nationally recognized horticulturist, Theodore Klein. Through his
expertise and research, Klein, now deceased, developed new versions
of a variety of trees and plants, and his arboretum has gained national
recognition. Clinton helped instigate the Friends of Yew Dell
Committee in October 2000.
by Don Ward
Always a visionary, Clinton found it important to preserve
Kleins gardens because he said, Crestwood is growing fast.
It needs parks and the location is great.
Clintons success may rely in part to more than 19 years of running
a small business and currently operating Beechwood Trees and Gardens
Inc. In 1980, he graduated with a degree from the University of Kentucky
in forestry and horticulture. Clintons past experience with nonprofit
organizations has given him the impetus to move forward with such projects
Clinton will be honored with a noon luncheon on July 15 at the John
W. Black Community Center in Buckner. Ticket prices are $10 to attend
this luncheon, with reservations required.
Broecker said that one reason Project Guild created Oldham County Day
was because the original members felt Oldham County was so special,
they wanted to celebrate. Broecker, a 35-year member of the Guild,
said this event has grown immeasurably since its conception. It has
grown from a one-day event into a weeklong event and the number of vendor
booths has increased from 18 to 200. But Broecker said the basic purpose
remains the same: to celebrate the county and citizens like Clinton
who have made outstanding contributions.
Crass said the day was also meant to be a source of income for local
businesses. We still meet those (original) goals, she said.
The Project Guild remains in the background of many other community
service projects. As a nonprofit organization, Project Guild uses proceeds
from Oldham County Day to fund such endeavors in an effort to make Oldham
County a better place in which to live.
In connection with Oldham County Day, one unique fundraising event the
Guild pursues is the Cats Meow project. Cats Meow is a company
based in Wooster, Ohio, that has created scale-model wooden collectibles,
depicting historic landmarks in Oldham County.
The limited edition collectible for 2003 is a 2-inch carving of the
Goshen General Store. The present building was built in 1874-1875 as
Grange Hall and existed as a gathering place for farmers and traders.
In the past, the building has housed a post office on the first floor
and a town meeting hall on the second floor. It is representative of
the overall feeling of Oldham County Day.
Photos are taken of the chosen historical landmark and submitted to
the Cats Meow for the piece to be created, said Guild member Jean
Marie Andrew. Cost for the Goshen General Store collectable is $15 and
will premier on Oldham County Day. An accessory piece will be the Oldham
County logo, which will sell for $10, said Andrew.
Suggestions are taken from the public on Oldham County Day at the Project
Guild booth for the following years collectible. Andrew said the
pieces are representative of landmarks across the county, not just one
particular town or locale. Only 90 pieces are available each year, and
only a true Cats Meow product contains the trademark cat silhouette
somewhere on the piece.
All proceeds go toward charity, said Project Guild President Beverly
McCombs. Last years sales benefited the Oldham County Special
Olympics. McCombs said that all monetary earnings are given back to
the community, and past recipients have included H.O.S.T. House, Oldham
County Christian Academy, Greenways and the Oldham County History Center.
McCombs praised the organization as being one of the most smoothly run
organizations in existence. We all have our jobs and we just do
them, she said. The workload is evenly distributed so that no
one person must accomplish all of the labor. Members are always
willing to lend a helping hand, she said, so that Oldham County
Day just comes together.
The Guilds support network for one another is also a factor in
the groups longevity. Were like sisters, McCombs
said. All members possess wide-ranging gifts, which are used quite frequently,
This dedicated and talented group is representative of women from all
ages and careers within the county. Through their efforts, traditional
events surrounding Oldham County Day have come to include a golf scramble,
a Friday night Dancin in the Streets concert, a 5K
race-walk, pancake breakfast, parade, childrens entertainment,
food vendors and dozens of booths filled with arts and crafts. All of
these aspects culminate into a day of celebration, reminiscent of times
past when citizens of the county would travel to town for court days
or gather at the market. A stroll around the streets surrounding the
courthouse lawn on Oldham County Day will reveal the diverse and unique
aspects of the county.
For more information, contact Motyka at (502) 222-1517, McCombs
at (502) 222-0040 or Broecker at (502) 222-1731.Oldham County Day.
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