Union City’s 175th birthday celebration near

Union City native Chris Hawkey will appear on stage on April 5 to present an acoustic concert in honor of Union City's 175th Birthday Celebration. (Courtesy photo)

UNION CITY – Residents on both sides of the state line in Union City are gearing up for a special celebration April 5-8 in observance of the town’s 175th birthday. Those dates coincide with the Total Eclipse set for April 8, with fun activities also in store.

The team of ambassadors, chaired by Shelly King, has been working diligently to make this observance a memorable one. Working with her are Susan Linder, Tom Brewer, Jaime Stocksdale, Duane Pouder, Scott Stahl, Ted Leahey, Pam Pratt, Star Jenkinson, Rick Clear, Pam Fraizer, Rick Van De Pitte, and Rick Root. Several other volunteers are helping with various activities throughout the celebration.

Kick-off of this multi-day event is April 5, with First Friday, to be held at the Arts Depot at 115 N. Howard, which is celebrating its 70th annual art show this year. It is set for 5-8 p.m.

“Come one, come all,” said King. “Join us for this casual social gathering to kick off our big celebration! Listen to relaxing Saxophone music by Tom while viewing the 70th Anniversary Art Show Exhibit. We’ll have festive birthday cupcakes and light refreshments.”

Saturday’s schedule is full of activities, including a parade, entertainment, tours, breakfast at the Lions Club, and various vendors.

Line-up for the parade on Saturday will be at 2 p.m. at Randolph Eastern Schools, Union City, Ind., and it is slated to begin at 3 p.m.

Residents are urged to show their community spirit and participate as either an entrant or as a spectator. Entries are being accepted. Online registration is encouraged. Here is the link to register:  https://forms.gle/SNfGicbgduGLk7uPA. Welcome are businesses, individuals, and organizations. However, it is requested that there be no political entries.

There is no entry fee.

Entry forms will also be available soon at the city offices of Union City, Ohio, and Union City, Ind., and at The Corner Cupboard.

Parade route will go as follows:  North Walnut Street to West Hickory to North Columbia Street to West Pearl and to East Elm Street.

Immediately following the parade, everyone is invited to gather at Artisan Park on West Pearl Street downtown for a community photo to commemorate the 175th birthday.

The Lions Club Pancake and Sausage Breakfast is set for 6 a.m. to noon while supplies last at the Elks Lodge.

“Dine-in, drive-thru, or carry out,” said a spokesperson. “Tickets may be purchased at the door or in advance from any Lions Club member: adults: $10, and children 12 and under: $5.”

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Justified, a popular Classic Rock Band from east central Indiana/west central Ohio, will perform on stage at Artisan Park. This is a free concert.

Union City’s own Chris Hawkey will be returning to the area to present a free concert in his acoustic performance, live on stage, at Artisan Park from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Saturday. In the event of inclement weather, the concert will be held at Elks Lodge.

All day on Saturday, there will be self-guided walking tours of historical sites, which includes both Union City, Indiana and Ohio. Here is the link for the tour: https://theclio.com/tour/2400.

One event scheduled for all four days is a two-sided commemorative Smilerocks Hunt.

This is one of the Smilerocks that will be featured in the hunt the entire weekend of the 175th Birthday Celebration (Courtesy photo)

“Find a rock? Finders’ keepers,” said King. “Plus, receive a commemorative 175th Birthday magnet when you register your rock at The Corner Cupboard, 239 N. Columbia St. Limit one rock per person. Rocks can be registered following the celebration while supplies last.”

She said the Smilerocks have been hand-painted by resident Marcia Neeley.

“Marcia has been making people smile for quite some time by hiding her beautifully painted rocks all around town for residents to find,” said King. “Fifty of these special rocks, commemorating two very special events, will be hidden throughout Union City during the 175th Birthday Celebration. Hats off to Marcia for donating her time and talent and bringing smiles to so many faces.”

Also available for the celebration are commemorative t-shirts, with orders to be in by March 21. Those interested are urged to get their orders in early to ensure delivery prior to the celebration.

Orders are now being taken for these t-shirts, designed and printed by Apache Design in Downtown Union City.

Here is what the back of the commemorative t-shirts that are being sold for the upcoming Union City birthday celebration look like. (Courtesy photo)

To order, call 765-964-6080 or stop by The Corner Cupboard, 239 N. Columbia St., and provide quantity, size(s), and contact information. Adult sizes, S-5X, are $20 each. Orders must be prepaid by March 21 unless other arrangements are made.
Shirts are 100 percent cotton and available in gray only.

“We accept cash, checks payable to Union City’s 175th Birthday Celebration, or Venmo https://venmo.com/u/Jaime-Stocksdale,” King said.

Another event that is scheduled and in keeping with tradition of past Union City birthday celebrations is a Senior Queen Contest. All local clubs, organizations, churches, and businesses are invited to participate by nominating a candidate, based on her service to the community, who lives in the Union City area, and who is 21 years of age or older.

“Each participating sponsor is responsible for emailing a good-quality photo (close-up preferred, but not required) of their nominee, along with a typed summary of the community service performed by the candidate, to cornercupboard239@gmail.com,” King said. “Please enter ‘Senior Queen Contest’ in the subject line.”

Entries will be posted on our Facebook page no later than March 25. Each thumbs up and heart reaction to the individual candidates will count as one vote. Voting ends on April 4 at 3 p.m.

Winners will be announced on the 175th Birthday Celebration Facebook page and during First Friday, on April 5. Prizes will be awarded to the top vote-getter, first runner-up, and second runner-up. All candidates will be encouraged to ride in Saturday’s parade, with transportation provided.

More fun is slated for Sunday.

In addition to the daily activities already mentioned, the following events are slated.
From noon to 3 p.m., the Union City Cemetery Tours will be featured at 1408 W. Oak. Those interested will be directed to the gravesites of Jeremiah Smith, founder of Union City, Ind., Gov. Isaac P.  Gray, and many others. The cemetery, it was noted, has more than 800 veterans buried, including the last Civil War veteran buried in Randolph County.

Visitors to the celebration are urged to visit Sham’s D&R Racing Museum from noon to 4  p.m. at 205 S. Division St. There is no admission fee.

A Corn Hole Tournament, with official ACL rules, is set for 2 p.m., with registration beginning at 1 p.m. at the Elks Lodge, 318 N. Columbia St. Cost is $25 per person, with cash prizes awarded. There is to be no outside food, drinks, or coolers. Those who participate are to bring their own bags.

Featured from 1 to 2 p.m. will be the Untold Stories of Union City on the lawn of the Union City Public Library, 408 N. Columbia. Guests are asked to bring their own lawn chairs. In case of rain, it will be held at the Community Room, 103 N. Columbia St.

From 1 to 3 p.m., there will be Union City Body Company Museum Updates behind 223-225 N. Columbia St. (on the corner of the alley and Fletcher Avenue). Those who will attend will see the progress being made on this upcoming attraction and hear about plans for the future.

Set for 1-4 p.m. are the Old Hotel/Railroad Museum tours, 101 N. Columbia St. “Governor Gray” will share lots of Union City history. There is no admission fee.

The Total Eclipse T-Shirt Craft will be held from 2 to 3 p.m. at Arts Depot.

“Bring your own dark–colored T-shirt! All other supplies provided. For all ages,” a spokesperson said.

From 2 to 4 p.m., the Wall of History can be viewed at the former Union City, Ohio, Administration Office, 419 E. Elm St.

On April 8, during the Total Eclipse, which begins at 1:52 p.m., with totality beginning at 3:08 p.m. and lasting close to four minutes, Artisan Park will serve as a gathering place for viewing.

“Please view with approved solar viewing glasses only,” the organizers advised. “Looking directly at the sun without eye protection can cause serious eye damage or even blindness.”

Yes, downtown Union City is getting decked out for the upcoming celebration. Banners designed by UCJSHS students are now rockin’ the poles. Visitors are asked to be sure to check them out while driving or walking through downtown.

Credit for the 175th birthday banners goes to Becky Kuehl, business/marketing teacher, her students, who designed them, and Amy Marker, art teacher, and her students for creating the Eclipse banner.

At the Welcome/Information Booth, general event information and handouts will be available in front of Lily & Rose Event Space, 234 N. Columbia St.
“Visitors from out of town or out of state are encouraged to stop by the booth and pin their current city on our map,” organizers said.

Selfie Stations will be available! Specially made hand-held props will be available at the mural on the exterior of Root’s Deli and the mural on the rear wall of the Old Hotel Museum, both located on North Columbia. A photo op board will also be available next to the Welcome/Information Booth.

Various food trucks will be available throughout the celebration included but not limited to, Artisan Park. Times vary.

There is lots of free parking in the downtown area, and parking will not be restricted during the parade.

Restrooms can be found at the Rail Tower at Artisan Park, plus portajohns located throughout downtown.

For more information, call 765-964-6080, email cornercupboard239@gmail.com, or send a message via Facebook.

Union City’s 175th Birthday Celebration
Schedule of Events

Friday, April 5
5-8 p.m. First Friday, Arts Depot, 115 N. Howard St., kick-off for celebration.
Smilerocks Hunt begins, and the 2024 Senior Queen Contest winners will be announced.

Saturday, April 6
All day Self-Guided Walking Tour of Historical Sites
All day Smilerocks Hunt throughout Union City
6 a.m. to noon or until sold-out Lions Club Pancake and Sausage Breakfast, Elks Lodge, 318 N. Columbia St.
8 a.m.-2 p.m. Sham’s D & R Racing Museum, 205 S. Division St.
10 a.m.-2 p.m. Wall of History, Former UCO Administration Office, 419 E. Elm
10 a.m.-3 p.m. Union City Cemetery Tours, 1408 W. Oak St.
10 a.m.-3 p.m. Various vendors, Lily & Rose Event Space, 234 N. Columbia St. and
on downtown sidewalks
11 a.m.-2 p.m. Justified free concert, Artisan Park, West Pearl Street downtown
Noon-1 p.m. Untold Stories of Union City, Union City Public Library lawn,
408 N. Columbia St. In case of rain, it will be held in the Community Room, 103 N. Columbia St.
Noon-2:30 p.m. Hoosier Place Tours, 310 N. Walnut St.
2:30-2:30 Lawn games, Union City Public Library, weather permitting.
2-5 p.m. Old Hotel/Railroad Museum Tours, 101 N. Columbia St.
3 p.m. Parade line-Up begins at 2 on North Walnut in front of Union City
Community Jr./Sr. High School
3-6 p.m. Veteran’s Brick Orders, Military Tribute Park, next to American
Legion, 409 W. Pearl St. Custom etched brick pavers to be permanently placed in the park! Available to order for all veterans! Brick costs $100.
4 p.m. (or immediately following the parade) Community Photo via Drone,
Artisan Park.
5 -6:30 p.m. Chris Hawkey, Acoustic Performance, Artisan Park. In case of rain, it will be held at the Elks Lodge.

Sunday, April 7
All Day Self-Guided Walking Tour of Historical Sites
All Day Smilerocks Hunt throughout Union City.
Noon-3 p.m. Various vendors, Lily & Rose Event Space, 234 N. Columbia St. and
on downtown sidewalks.
Noon-3 p.m. Union City Cemetery Tours, 1408 W. Oak St.
Noon-4 p.m. Sham’s D & R Racing Museum, 205 S. Division St.
1-2 p.m.  Untold Stories of Union City, Union City Public Library Lawn, at Community Room in case it rains.
1-3 p.m. Union City Body Company Museum Updates, behind 223-225 N.
Columbia St.
1-4 p.m. Old Hotel/Railroad Museum Tours, 101 N. Columbia St.
2 p.m. Corn Hole Tournament, registration begins at 1:00, Elks Lodge.
2-3 p.m. Eclipse T-Shirt Craft, Arts Depot, 115 N. Howard St.
2-4 p.m. Wall of History, former UCO Administration Office, 419 E. Elm St.

Monday, April 8
All Day Self-Guided Walking Tour of Historical Sites
All Day Smilerocks Hunt throughout Union City
2-3:15 p.m. Gathering for Eclipse, Artisan Park, for friends, family, community members, and visitors to share in this very historic
moment. Wearing approved glasses for safe viewing is a must.