The horses were running, but many of the people who went to Beulah Park last weekend weren't there for the races.
Beulah Park will close after a final day of races on Saturday, May 3, ending 91 years of racing at the track that was Ohio's first thoroughbred track. On April 26, the community held a celebration to commemorate the storied history of the park, which dates back to the 1890s as fairground space.
"It's a name that's synonymous with Grove City," said Mayor Richard "Ike" Stage, who also presented a proclamation from the city commemorating Beulah Park's history and thanking those who helped make the park what it was and for service to the community.
Former mayor and current state Rep. Cheryl Grossman (R-Grove City) was on hand to present a resolution from the Ohio House of Representatives.
Grossman said it was a "tough day."
"It's really special to be standing here to see so many people remembering Beulah Park," she said. "It's a new day and a new chapter."
Beulah Park General Manager Jim McKinney said change has been a constant at the track during his 30 years there, as the nature of gaming and racing has evolved throughout the state and country -- whether it has been due to changes in laws, technology or people's entertainment options.
"It just wasn't enough," McKinney said. "It marks the end of an era. ... Beulah Park has played an important part in a lot of lives."
Penn National Gaming, owners of the 213-acre racetrack site, is moving Beulah Park's state racing license to Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley, near Youngstown, which will open as a racetrack and casino this fall.
Local development firm Continental Real Estate Cos. is in negotiation with Penn National to purchase and redevelop the track property.
Louise Goss of Dublin was among those who lives were affected by Beulah Park.
"My dad (Gale Osborne) raced here for a lot of years," she said, adding that he was also a trainer for many years. "He'd be 100 years old."
Goss attended the celebration and brought along with her a number of photos, including one featuring her and her father from around 1933 when she was 3 years old.
"A lot of times, we lived in a trailer on the back side," she said. "Everyone on the track knew my mother (Helen)."
Helen Osborne, Goss said, owned a number of horses and managed the bookkeeping. Her parents were married for 58 years.
Goss said it is sad to see the park closed but hopefully room can be made for something new, enjoyable and lovely.
"Everything has a lifespan," Goss said. "It's just kind of come to the end. It's sad, kind of like a death."