The invitation has been extended to members of the Alexandria "family" as the village prepares for its annual homecoming celebration that features carnival rides, tractor pulls and plenty of food and musical entertainment.
The 65th Alexandria Fun Days is scheduled for Thursday-Saturday, July 17-19, in front of the Northridge Primary School, 124 College St.
"It's all about a small hometown community getting together," said Syd Kean, one of the festival's organizers. "We have people who come back and visit every year, even from out of state. This event has really been an integral part of our community."
Fun Days began early in the 1900s and was staged every five years or so except during World War II, according to the event's website. A baseball game and an evening dance highlighted the first Fun Days event in 1949. The first tractor pull was in 1951, when Alexandria Service Club members George Price and Edwin Maxwell grilled hamburgers for the crowd.
The "World Famous Alex Tractor Pull" will continue at 6 p.m. Friday, July 18.
"We've been doing that for a long time, and it's always the biggest draw," Kean said. "I saw a trophy from back in the (1960s). Friday night usually brings in close to 400 people."
Highlighting the first evening's schedule of events is the Licking County 4-H Band and the Little Miss Fun Days pageant. Music by The Roos begins at 8:30 p.m. A group called Third Departure will close out the Fun Days activities at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 19.
Other activities include the corn-hole tournament (2 p.m. Saturday, July 19) and a graveyard walk (8 p.m. Friday, July 17) that is sponsored by the Alexandria library and museum.
"This is something they started last year," Kean said. "They have people who dress in costume and give a little bit of history about who is buried back there. We have a number of war veterans and others who have contributed to the community."
Veterans of the Revolutionary War started out as settlers in the area that is now St. Albans Township. Many of them arrived from New England states, as well as Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia.
The Main Street in Alexandria, state Route 37, follows an old Indian trail that ran from Delaware to Zanesville.
The Alexandria Fire Association, which has long been associated with Fun Days, benefits from the proceeds, which are used to purchase fire equipment.
"We don't want the event to end so we're trying to keep it going," Kean said. "Sometimes people get busy and can't put in the time, but I think we've put some new life into it this year, and we're going to make it bigger every year."