Event celebrates local history

Fourth of July means picnics, fireworks, friends and family as well as celebrating freedom and remembering those who helped to shape our country. This year, why not enjoy a slice of history with your patriotic festivities? The second annual Fourth of July Howard Community BBQ will be held 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Howard Hall, 5510 CR 45 in Howard.

This family-friendly event features a full day’s roundup of fun, food and history for all ages. Entry is free for children 10 and younger, and a suggested $10 donation from adults will help support the Howard Hall Association and Fremont Historical Society, the event sponsors. The Community BBQ is being held again this year as a way to say “thank you” and acknowledge support from the local community throughout the year.

Festivities will include games for the kids, face painting, barrel train rides and people trolley tours through historic “Old Howard,” including a visit to the historic Pleasant Valley Old Church, the original church in the Pleasant Valley area, celebrating its 120th birthday. All rides and tours are free.

There will be many food choices to enjoy, such as ice cream and kettle corn for sale throughout the day. The lunch menu (included with your entrance donation) offers several options that will satisfy even the pickiest eaters. Main dish choices include a grilled hamburger or cheeseburger, brat, hot dog or pulled-beef barbecue sandwich. Side dishes include potato salad or chips, savory baked beans or roasted corn on the cob. The meal comes with a choice of drinks and desserts.

History buffs can enjoy the trolley tours around the sites of Old Howard with a visit to the Fremont Historical Society’s Old Church, where a knowledgeable guide will be on hand to share stories and answer questions about the history of this celebrated area. The church will host an open house from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Howard Hall Community Center is a historic building owned and operated by the Howard Hall Association, a nonprofit corporation. The community center, rich in memories, has been a gathering place for private and public events since 1903. The center’s colorful past includes many interesting features such as a handcrafted player piano, purchased and installed in 1914 to enhance the “entertainment factor” at dances, plays and masquerade balls.

Nowadays, the community center is a popular and perfect spot for a myriad of gatherings such as birthdays, anniversary parties, fundraisers, dances, public meetings, fitness classes, potlucks, club meetings and more.

The Western Fremont Historical Society, founded in 1989, upholds the mission to preserve the history and heritage of the original settlers and those who continue to live in the Pleasant Valley area. The Society’s History Center is located in the old church, built in 1898. It was the first church to be constructed in the Pleasant Valley area and was instrumental in helping to grow the community. The history center has an archive of donated materials that is open to the public for exploration.

Be sure to bring plenty of water and lots of sunscreen. Information about the event can be found online at www.howardhall.org or the Howard Hall Community Center Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pg/howardhallcommunitycenter