Concord Community Park will host Summerfest on July 19, 20 and 21. Attendees will be admitted for free to enjoy crafters, vendors, food and other entertainment. A portion of the money raised by crafters and vendors, as well as by the consignment auction on Saturday afternoon, will go toward the regular maintenance of the Concord Community Center.
The community center’s museum will be dedicated at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The museum houses old photographs and sports memorabilia from when the building functioned as a school. According to former Concord Township Trustee Dick Kizer, the building was constructed in 1914 as Concord High School, but became Graham East Elementary in 1957 when Westville, St. Paris and Concord school districts consolidated. The township purchased the building to use as a community center in 1993.
“This building is important for the history for the town and for the community,” said Walter Stevenson, Community Center treasurer and handyman. “So many old school buildings get torn down and taken away when they make new schools and combine them. Part of what we do here is preserving the heritage of it, but at the same time we do some good. We run a food pantry out of the back and on the third and fourth Thursday evenings of the month we give food to anywhere from 20 to 50 people and families. So we help feed people in the area. We do all our Graham youth soccer here every year, and it’s just good for the community.”
Other activities involved in Summerfest include Overdrive, a rock and roll, oldies and country band from Springfield performing live at 6 p.m. on Saturday; a classic car cruise-in at 1 p.m. on Saturday that last year attracted about 30 cars; kiddie and antique tractor pulls; children’s activities; and a baseball tournament.
The baseball tournament begins at 8 a.m. on Saturday and follows the Strike Out Cancer tournament completed over two weekends in June. The community center is donating $3,800 to Relay for Life as a result of that fundraiser. Money raised from the Summerfest tournament will go toward regular maintenance of the community center.
There are currently six teams playing on the 13U field and five teams playing on the 15U field. Organizers said they need more 10U and 12U teams. If interested, call Mindy Stevenson at 937-925-5510.
Organizers are still seeking consignment items. According to Kizer, the community center will receive an 8% commission on consignment items that sell for over $200, and a 25% commission on items that sell for under $200. Donations are always welcome. For more information, contact Walter Stevenson at 937-869-2307.
Kizer said Summerfest has been an annual tradition since 2008 and is one of the best fundraisers for the community center throughout the year.
“We just put in a new furnace in last summer – had to because the other furnace went kaput after all these years, so we put that in with a brand new air conditioner,” he said. “We closed off the front hallway so we could conserve heat; we don’t heat every inch of the building, we heat what we have to use to try to make it a conservative building. We need to make some money that goes to community center and keeps it open for different functions in the community. People rent it, but we also have 4H groups come in, and there is no charge for those.”
Kizer estimated last year’s crowd at 250-300 people a day, including baseball players, and looks forward to a similar number this year.
“We’re just trying to keep the community aware that we are here,” he said. “We’re always looking for new members. Anyone who would like to volunteer and give their input, ideas are welcome. We’re here for the community, but without the community participating we can’t really be here for them. We’re trying to reach out to the community for more involvement from them.”
Christopher Selmek can be reached at 937-508-2304