VERSAILLES – Villagers proudly gathered at Heritage Park on Saturday for the 200th birthday of Versailles.
The Versailles High School band kicked off the bicentennial festivities by being the first to perform in the park’s brand new amphitheater.
Under the direction of Ronda Stammen, the band performed a variety of patriotic, folk and popular tunes, including a 1954 version of “This Land is Your Land,” which Stammen said she found in the library archives.
“We wanted to bring out anything we can for this great birthday we are having,” Stammen said.
The high school band also shared a rendition of John Mellencamp’s “R.O.C.K. in the USA” along with Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” and Ohio State University favorites “Buckeye Battle Cry” and “Hang on Sloopy.”
Versailles’ favorites also were part of their inaugural concert at the amphitheater – “Eye of the Tiger” and the “Chicken Dance,” in honor of the village’s annual Poultry Days festival.
Members of the Versailles Community Band joined with the high school band for some selections.
A variety of musical groups performed throughout the Bicentennial celebration.
Bicentennial committee member Kim Custenborder spoke to the crowd following the high school band’s performance, thanking the YOLO board and Heritage Park board for their support in getting the amphitheater ready for the bicentennial celebration.
She also gave a special thanks to all the bicentennial committee members, in particular the late Jim Kelch, who was instrumental in getting the celebration off the ground.
The committee has been working on the 200th birthday plans for about a year and a half, Custenborder said.
Several dignitaries took a few minutes to share their thoughts about the Bicentennial, including Versailles Mayor Jeff Subler.
“People always say to me ‘you’re really lucky to come from a great little town’” like Versailles, he said, adding “there’s no luck about it. People are there to help others as neighbors.”
Subler also noted how villagers taking care of their properties was instrumental to the success of Versailles. “We didn’t get to where we are without working together,” Subler said before
sharing a proclamation from Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted congratulating Versailles on its bicentennial.
Other government officials on hand to congratulate Versailles during Saturday’s event included State Rep. Susan Manchester, Auditor of State Keith Faber and State Senator Matt Huffman.
Festivities also included amusement rides and games, food vendors, historical reenactors and displays of antique cars, cannons and firefighting equipment.
A fireworks display closed the Bicentennial celebration.