We all know that it takes a village to make our neighborhood spectacular. We know that a civic association turning 50 is nothing to shrug at. So it should come as no surprise that a committee full of villagers has been working around the clock and throughout the year to help our German Village Society celebrate its golden anniversary.

We all know that it takes a village to make our neighborhood spectacular. We know that a civic association turning 50 is nothing to shrug at. So it should come as no surprise that a committee full of villagers has been working around the clock and throughout the year to help our German Village Society celebrate its golden anniversary.

This committee has been flying under the radar for the most part. They received some well-deserved acclaim after the gala in February, "A Taste of the Good Life," but aside from those pats on the back, they have been churning out events that have kept the neighborhood celebrating throughout 2010 - keeping behind the scenes.

The 50th anniversary committee has come up with an incredible array of ways to celebrate the vibrancy of German Village. While I know they have put a lot of work into each event, large and small, I also know that it isn't that hard to give a nod to our vibrancy because it's out there for everyone to enjoy.

This committee is made up of a cast of characters, partners in crime, social butterflies and the society's biggest cheerleaders. Whatever you want to call them, know that they are working hard and having a great time doing it. Sarah Irvin Clark, Kelly Clark, Bill Mains, Brian Smith, John and Jan Clark, Bill Curlis, Jerry Glick, Ashley Stephens and Darci Congrove have formed an event-planning machine and creativity is the name of their game. Case in point: "The Sound of Music" singalong.

In addition to the singalong last weekend, the committee has hosted a handful of events to showcase our focus on history, the arts, our sense of camaraderie, our skill at fair play, our love for our local businesses and our appreciation for creating gifts for future 100th anniversary committee members to utilize. In short, they've turned a Jan. 10 birthday into a yearlong celebration.

With the "Sharing Our Roots" exhibit in the Brent Warner Fest Hall in January, villagers could view early society memorabilia, photographs and documents. The exhibit celebrated the society's foundation and hosted students from both St. Mary School and Stewart Alternative Elementary School, in addition to hundreds of other visitors throughout the month. The theme of the exhibit came from our adopted tagline: "It is by sharing our roots that they become stronger." By sharing those roots early, the 50th anniversary committee set the tone for what was to come next.

"A Taste of the Good Life" was made possible by sheer determination, grit, lots of delicious food donated by German Village restaurants and an amazing, brand-new space graciously shared by Grange Insurance. The gala featured great video footage, a red carpet (shouldn't every German Village event have one?) and Marilyn Monroe to sing "Happy Birthday." There were shared stories, shared laughter and tears and a palpable love for our neighborhood that I dare anyone who attended to deny.

The "Visions of the Village" art show in March showcased not only the immense talent we are spoiled with in German Village, but also unique interpretations of what makes our neighborhood so "German Village." Old and new pieces of art were taken out of studios and private collections and shared with villagers - some for the first time - and all for the benefit of a public audience seeking to learn more about what makes us tick.

In June I was the very humbled recipient of a book-signing party hosted by the 50th anniversary committee for my book, "Remembering German Village: Columbus, Ohio's Historic Treasure." Modesty keeps me from highlighting this one too much, but it was a wonderful party in a beautiful German Village home that served as a homecoming of sorts. The book focuses primarily on the history of the neighborhood and the society, and I was thrilled that the committee thought it a good fit for the yearlong 50th anniversary celebration.

In July, the epic vintage "base ball" game pitting the Cupcakes against the Muffins took place. Ah, the sweet smell of (almost) victory. But what other neighborhood would play host to a vintage" base ball" team and round up its own squad sponsored by one of the cutest bakeries in town? All for a weekend game in the park and all for nothing more than fun and good sport? The same can be said for this month's singalong in Frank Fetch Park. I've tried thinking of more fun ways to showcase our parks and there are not any. I'd say a vintage "base ball game" and a "Sound of Music" party do it best.

So, what's next? On the schedule are a WOSU documentary, a pub crawl, a tree lighting and a time capsule. I wouldn't dare ruin any of the surprises involved with each of these events, so be on the lookout for more information as it comes.

The work of 50th anniversary committee has accomplished more than a few things: some have been purely for fun, all have relied on collaboration with other groups (the German Village Business Community, the German Village Art League, the German Village Garten Club, the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department and others), some have contributed to the society's bank account and all have relied heavily on volunteer support and a genuine interest from the community.

Perhaps the best part, though, is that this committee has had a lot of fun planning these events, and it seems a little unfair that they get to count this as "work." But work it is - it takes a lot to plan a gala, field a team of "base ball" players and advertise their efforts to the public. It has taken a lot of committee meetings, a lot of tough decisions and a lot of very prudent spending to make it all seem so easy. But I am glad they are at the helm of celebrating this huge year for German Village!


Jody Graichen is director of Historic Preservation Programs for the German Village Society.