Villagers, city to celebrate a crown jewel Saturday
Hundreds are expected to attend festivities this weekend in Schiller Park, meant to help celebrate the Columbus bicentennial, but also shine a light on what many consider the crown jewel of German Village.
The park, which dates to the early 1880s, has a rock solid place in the history of the village, but also is the centerpiece of community activities, whether it's Shakespeare in the park, walking dogs or taking art classes at the rec center.
Katharine Moore, chairwoman of Friends of Schiller Park, said the group will take an opportunity to seek volunteers to keep the green space a well-manicured destination for years to come.
"This weekend is a 'friend-raiser' as much as anything," Moore said.
"Thriving urban parks need champions," she said.
"Friends of Schiller Park has made dreams come true for our whole community," she said.
"Before the Friends there was no amphitheater, or tot lot, or pedestrian lighting. You can't just use a park, you have to love it."
The revelry is scheduled to begin at 7:15 p.m. Saturday, Sept 8. with the lighting of the statue dedicated in honor of Friedrich Schiller, the German poet, playwright, philosopher and historian for whom the parked is named.
The Harmony Project, a local vocal group, will perform at the ceremony.
At the moment of the lighting, the Columbus Maennerchor will sing Ode to Joy in German.
At 8:30 p.m., the Friends of Schiller Park is hosting a fundraising party beneath a large tent on Deshler Avenue.
On the agenda are desserts, dancing and a raffle. Tickets are $50 each and available at the Meeting Haus or online at germanvillage.com.
Schiller gets humming again at noon the following day, Sunday, Sept. 9, starting with a picnic and live performance by The All People Band, which will take the stage until 1:30 p.m.
From 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., tour guides will take groups around to each of nine living history stations, which will cover various topics important in the history of Schiller.
For example, the Columbus Zoo, which was located at Schiller, will bring ambassador animals to the park.
There also will be an exhibit commemorating the days when the Ohio State Fair was located at Schiller.
Part of that display will include a pie-baking competition, judging for which begin at 3:15 p.m.
At 3:30 p.m., scavenger-hunt teams will form at the Friends of Schiller tent near the Umbrella Girl fountain.
Each team will have up to eight people and search for items hidden within the park. Prizes will be awarded to the winner. Moore said it is open to people of all ages.
An exclamation point will be put on the day at the 4:30 p.m., when participants will be asked to join in the family portrait, to be taken by Larry Hamill, a local photographer who's snapped the picture for more than 25 years.
Moore said it has more than the usual significance because it will become part of the documentation for 200Columbus, the group formally charged with putting on the city's bicentennial celebration.
Those who participate in the portrait will be treated to an ice cream social, courtesy of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams.
"The passion Schiller volunteers show continues to astound me," said Shiloh Todorov, director of the German Village Society.
"We have practicing physicians, entrepreneurs, CEOs and executive directors from the city's finest institutions who are so passionate about this park that when a need arises, they find a way to meet the need, even in their busy lives."