Anniversary

The weather may be turning colder, but if you can let your mind jump ahead to thoughts of summer, how does an old-fashioned ice cream social sound?

To a group of representatives from Union City churches, it sounds pretty good.

An ice cream social was one of the ideas the group came up with while brainstorming activities to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the naming of Union City.

“We’re focusing on our churches pulling together and doing an ice cream social,” said Blare Webb of the Union City First United Methodist Church.

Susan Ottaway of the Union City Presbyterian Church said an ice-cream social is an old-time event she’d like to see brought back.

“Churches used to do them,” Ottaway said. “They used to be for their congregation. This would be for the community.”

The group representing the churches was one of four groups of about 20 people who on Monday, Oct. 12, attended a planning session for the celebration at the Union City Volunteer Fire Co. Social Hall.

Union City Borough Secretary Cindy Wells organized the meeting. She said the borough was established as Union City in 1871, but an exact date was not known. Marris Hanby, president of the Union City Historical Society, believes it was sometime in July and is going to pinpoint an exact date.

The town was founded in 1797. Prior to being named Union City, the town was named Miles Mills and Union Mills, respectively.

Wells said she would like to see activities related to the celebration held twice a month from April to December 2021. Some activities could be held in conjunction with Union City’s usual annual activities, such as the Memorial Day parade and services. The groups were asked to expand on the current activities or come up with new ideas.

“We can create enthusiasm by planning events ahead of time, and then we can promote them in the borough and surrounding area,” Wells said.

In addition to churches, those attending broke up into groups for businesses (retail, restaurants, hair salons, garages and funeral homes) and organizations (clubs, schools and medical facilities).

One business group included William and Bethany Kissell, who would like to open a brew pub in Union City.

“We wondered how we can be a part of this, even though we don’t know if our business will be up and running,” said William Kissell, who also suggested a farmers market and a cruise-in.

The Kissells were discussing ideas with Steve Jones, president of Ron Jones Hardwoods and chairman of the Union City Community Foundation.

“We want to make this (celebration) super special and collaborate with additional businesses in town,” Jones said. “We’d like to come up with ideas to celebrate the past history of business, current history of business and what the future of business may hold.”

A group for organizations included the Union City Historical Museum; the Union City Public Library; and Corry Memorial Hospital, an affiliate of LECOM Health.

“We’re talking about doing an open house for the museum, maybe once a month for a year,” Hanby said.

Chris Slocum, director of the Union City Public Library, said other ideas include a scavenger hunt, a food truck and a walking tour of historic homes.

Another group was composed of business and fire department representatives.

“We’re talking about something to do around Little League time in May and fishing in April,” said George Fox of George Fox Insurance.

Other ideas included a 150th anniversary float in the Homecoming parade, a haunted house, a carnival in the parking lot near Hogan’s Alley, and a chicken dinner.

Martie Irwin, a member of Union City Pride and a master gardener, discussed having a pumpkin walk, which is a popular fall event.

Wells said the unveiling of the mural on the wall of 28 South St. and opening of the adjacent parking lot could be held in conjunction with the 150th anniversary celebration.

Although the meeting was a planning session and the activities are suggestions at this point, Wells was happy to see so many people in attendance.

“I think it was a very good turnout,” Wells said. “The feedback and ideas were really good; they had some new ideas.”

Those attending were also asked to fill out a form with basic information and suggested events. The deadline to return the form to Wells is Nov. 13.

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