By Emily Day
Xenia Daily Gazette
JAMESTOWN — The people of Jamestown did not let last Saturday’s rainstorm ruin their parade during this weekend’s Bean Festival.
Residents gathered at the Point to kick-off the festival weekend by celebrating Jamestown’s 200th birthday with a balloon glow ceremony on Sept. 15.
During the ceremony, Jamestown Mayor Jerrod Pickens recounted Jamestown rich history as a small farming community in the heart of southern Ohio. Pickens reminded the town of their willingness to come together during all seasons of life.
At the close of the ceremony, Pickens named Jordan Bolen grand marshall and honorary mayor for the 2016 Bean Festival.
According to Pickens, Bolen has been after his job since Bolen was in elementary school. As his first official duty, Bolen did the count down for the balloon lighting show to close out the evening’s activities.
Despite the inclement weather Friday and Saturday, the streets of downtown Jamestown were filled with families and vendors alike. From balloon art to swing dancing and funnel cakes to Jamestown’s signature bean tent, there was something there for everyone.
Amongst all the celebration there was one friendly face missing from the festivities.
Edward “Eddie” Brill had been a part of Jamestown and the Bean Festival for 52 years, spinning the wheel for the Ham and Blanket Wheel. After he passed away this past July, Mark Ferrell, member of the Jamestown Lions Club, said they wanted to honor Brill by renaming it the Eddie Brill Memorial Ham and Blanket Wheel.
“Eddie Brill to this community was somebody who if you need help, he would be the one to help,” Ferrell said. “Whenever any fraction of this town needed something, he would be there, usually paying out of pocket. He was just a one of a kind person, who will be sorely missed in our community.”
The themes of community and town pride were found throughout the festival culminating at the highlight of the festival, Saturday’s parade. Floats from Greenview high school and community outreach programs intermixed with fun floats embracing Jamestown’s farming heritage were met with crowded sidewalks.
Parade-goers were also treated to a special, surprise appearance from Jamestown native Olympic medalist Grace Norman on the Shawnee Hills Baptist Church float, her former home church.
Ferrell said the people of this town are proud of where they come from and it could really be seen during this bicentennial celebration.
“Jamestown is just a great place,” Ferrell said. “If you take Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton and draw a triangle, Jamestown would be the heart. We love our small town. And we love our people who continually come out and support our community.”
Emily Day is an intern and freelance writer for Greene County News.