Monday, January 23rd, 2023
St. Marys kicks off yearlong festivities
2023 marks city's bicentennial year
By Bob Tomaszewski
ST. MARYS - Officials have scheduled a slew of activities this year to celebrate the city's bicentennial, including a showing of silent films by St. Marys native William K. Howard, a prolific director with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Kraig Noble, the head of a St. Marys Bicentennial coordinating committee, said the St. Marys plat was recorded in August of 1823 in Mercer County.
"St. Marys was the county seat of Mercer County, initially," Noble said. "Then (the county seat) was moved to Celina."
The city has an "exceptional amount of history," he said.
"We had two different forts. The Girty's were here. We had the canal," Noble said. "It seems like we have an abundance of history."
In addition to numerous events planned throughout the entire year to honor the bicentennial, officials have commissioned a piece of music expected to be presented this summer.
"We've got stuff scheduled for the spring, summer, fall, with a concluding Christmas event at the opera house (Dec. 16). Then we are going to have the dedication of the new Municipal Building, placement of time capsule (Dec. 29)," Noble said.
The yearlong celebration got off to a sour note on Sunday, though, with the cancellation of the Lima Symphony Orchestra's "Harp by Candlelight," at the Grand Opera House. The show was scrapped due to inclement weather in regions where several musicians live, according to an announcement.
The Grand Opera House on Feb. 11 will show a selection of Howard's silent films including "Let's Go" and "Back Door to Heaven." Organist Dennis James will provide music to accompany the films.
On June 11, James will return to the opera house to provide music to accompany a pair of short silent films from 1923, Buster Keaton's "The Baloonatic" and Harold Lloyd's "Safety Last!"
Other events lined up include:
• Jan. 30 - a virtual art and architecture presentation on the Mooney Museum.
• April 26 - Ken Hammontree will be doing a historical impersonation of frontiersman Simon Girty at the Grand Opera House.
• May 5 - a bicentennial beer will be introduced.
• May 10 - a presentation on the 1818 Treaties of St. Marys by historian Andrew Olson followed by a dinner.
• June 4 - a vintage baseball game with the Columbus Muffins.
• June 5 - Judy Green's presentation on author Laura Wilder at the Grand Opera House.
• June 5 - reading program at the St. Marys Public Library will begin, emphasizing historic event.
• TBA - a walking tour tour of downtown and a possible high school band competition.
• July 29 - comedian Jimmie Failla performance the Grand Opera House.
• TBA - a walking tour of Elm Grove Cemetery.
• Aug. 5 - dueling pianos at the Grand Opera House.
• Aug. 6-Aug. 13 - St. Marys Summerfest.
• TBA - possible visit by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.
• Sept. 10 - American Musical Productions performance with Joseph Rubin, a conductor and musicologist who specializes in living history concerts.
• TBA - A screening of 1928 film "Beggars for Life" about St. Marys native writer Jim Tully.
• Oct. 2 - Greg Shipley talk on early military sites.
• Oct. 15 -historic exhibits are planned for the Fall Walk With Nature.