HCHS committee requests bed tax cash for summer extravaganza

HCHS committee requests bed tax cash for summer extravaganza

One of the hopes of the Holmes County Historical Society Bicentennial Committee is to recreate an enormous parade in Historic Downtown Millersburg that would be celebrated much like it was many decades ago.


Melissa Patrick, Holmes County Historical Society member and chairperson for the Holmes County Bicentennial Celebration Committee, recently met with the Holmes County commissioners to discuss the possibility of receiving additional bed tax grant funding to increase the fireworks display the bicentennial committee will host in unison with the Historic Downtown Millersburg’s Independence Day celebration during the annual Thunder Over Holmes County event on June 29.

“We’ve been working on our budget as we prepare to ask for the bed tax grant funding, and we are planning to kick off our bicentennial celebration during Thunder Over Holmes County because we are looking to make it an event that we used to have back in the old days,” Patrick said.

She said the kickoff for the bicentennial celebration will begin with a big bang on June 29 and will then run throughout 2025, noting there is still some uncertainty as to whether the county grew into existence in 1824 or 1825. She said the committee believes it could well end the celebratory season at next year’s Thunder Over Holmes County event.

However, she said right now the focus is on creating something special for the grand opening of the celebration, something that will be memorable and present plenty of pizzazz for locals and visitors alike.

Patrick said in olden days when the county was honoring or celebrating special occasions, there were massive celebrations that brought thousands of people to town.

That is what the committee is hoping to bring back for the opening ceremonies beginning June 29, a celebration that will include an enormous grand parade featuring many marching bands and a much larger fireworks celebration than in the past.

“We want to create something special,” Patrick said. “We want big bands, elected officials and a huge gathering because that is what would have taken place at any special function, dedication or special ceremony back in the day.”

Patrick said in discussing the Thunder Over Holmes County fireworks with people throughout the community, the committee members have heard from many of them that the fireworks haven’t been what people are hoping to view.

“We’ve heard from people about how short the fireworks are and how people would like to see a better fireworks show,” Patrick said. “If we are doing our fireworks show at Thunder Over Holmes County, it can’t be a pitiful fireworks show. It’s the bicentennial Thunder.”

She said with that in mind, the committee has factored that expense into its budget, and they hope the bed tax grant dollars will combine with HDM and the other partners involved with funding the fireworks to make the show one to remember for viewers.

With the date drawing nearer every day, Patrick said while they understand bed tax grant funds aren’t yet being handed out, the committee felt it was important to gain some insight into the commissioners’ thoughts on the possibility of securing the $10,000 bed tax grant.

With expectations of drawing many people from outside the area into the county to help celebrate during that opening weekend, Patrick said the committee believes bed tax grant dollars would be appropriate.

“While we don’t have to have the actual money in hand now, we do need to know how much to tell the fireworks company we can provide to them in terms of funding the fireworks,” Patrick said.

“It’s my understanding that to put on a really great fireworks show, you have to invest $35,000-$40,000,” commissioner Joe Miller said.

Patrick said this additional bed tax grant would place them squarely within that range with the different entities involved in financially supporting the fireworks show.

Patrick said HDM’s Thunder activities will begin the morning of June 29 with plenty of bounce houses, games, food vendors and other activities.

The grand parade will begin at approximately 2 p.m., and she said the expectations of the committee are that this should be an enormous parade.

They also are inviting elected officials to speak, and there will be a video presentation by Bronson Allison, a videographer who owns and operates the company LiveMoreTV. It will get people to come and stay in the county for the day-long festivities that will culminate with the fireworks, which will hopefully create opportunity for people to visit and stay in the area both prior to and following the event.

The commissioners have sent bed tax dollars to HDM for the Thunder event in the past, and these dollars would be in addition to the ones already earmarked for HDM.

The commissioners were willing to commit to a celebration they deemed important to the county.

“I’d rather commit the separate $10,000 than put this together with the HDM,” commissioner Dave Hall said.

“We love events,” Miller said. “When people invest and volunteer to do something like this, we are in.”

Patrick said the committee’s goal is to continue to create events that would fulfill that objective while at the same time they won’t reinvent the wheel in promoting the event, instead utilizing all the showcases Holmes County already has in place.

“We want this to be a Holmes County thing, not just a Millersburg thing, so we are going to have bicentennial arms across the county,” Patrick said, noting the bicentennial purpose will prioritize having a presence at functions and gatherings throughout the county year round.

The commissioners agreed to take action in the future to provide the funds requested by Patrick.

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