The first-ever Freedom Fall Festival and Craft Show was a great success.

Lots of people from Freedom and the surrounding areas came out on a warm, sunny day to enjoy historical programs, purchase fall decorations and visit with their neighbors.

The town hall was filled with crafters and homemade food vendors and the pavilion was packed to overflowing with pumpkins donated by Freedom resident Dennie Pochedly, corn stalks donated by Esler Heyd and Freedom Township Historical Society members Art Hall and Jeannette Wilson-Marvin Hall, and mums donated by Freedom business Eagle Creek Growers. Members of the Blackhorse Baptist Church, whose pastor is Freedom resident the Rev. Tom Mesaros, operated a food booth with hot dogs, nachos, and drinks.

There was also a Civil War camp with both Union and Confederate re-enactors and programs throughout the day in a tent sponsored by Freedom business Rick Kuntz Trucking. FTHS member Julie Thompson and her niece, Hannah Thompson, portrayed a teacher and student at a Freedom one-room schoolhouse in the 19th century. As always, Mrs. Thompson did an impeccable job with research, and she really brought to life the long hours and hard work required of teachers in that period. Mrs. Thompson also did a tongue-in-cheek demonstration of common punishments from the time period, which included a whack on the hand with a ruler and wearing a dunce cap.

Other programs were a question-and-answer session with Civil War re-enactors Mike and Judy McCoy, Mark Christopher and his friend, Renee, and Kenneth Kristoff and a performance by country Gospel group King’s Crown 7, who played old-time favorites like "I’ll Fly Away," "Just a Closer Walk with Thee" and my favorite, "Shall We Gather at the River."

All of the money raised went to support the good work of FTHS, Blackhorse Baptist, and the Freedom Community Park Boosters. Thanks to all of the hard-working volunteers who made this event such a success. I can’t name everyone who helped out, but special plaudits to Jennifer Derthick, who organized the craft show, Trustee Jeff Derthick, who got up before dawn to set up and stayed until sunset to tear down, Trustee John Zizka, and his wife, Kathy, who came back from vacation in Michigan and jumped right in to pumpkin-hauling duties, FTHS member Brad King who portrayed his great-grandfather, storekeeper Oscar Hunt, and Barbara and Dan Grafton, Jim and Kathleen Hammar and David Bultinck who sold pumpkins, etc., like gangbusters. Also, thanks to road crew members Tony Vansteenberg and Butch Roosa for mowing the lawn before the big day and cleaning up afterward.

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I know many of you enjoyed touring the one-room schoolhouse during the fall festival, but there’s been a great deal of progress in the few weeks since. FTHS volunteers Charles Duffield, Rich Knerem and Pete Thornton were out on a chilly day last week working on the west basement wall.

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The township’s annual trick or treat event will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31 at the Freedom Community Center, 8940 S.R. 700. Everyone is invited to come hand out candy, and you can even come early to help set up. In addition to candy, there will be hot dogs, chips, doughnuts and cider. For more information, call Fiscal Officer Karen Martin at 330-760-0140.

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I was sad to hear of the recent passing of longtime Freedom resident Birgit Lansinger. I met her at a Freedom Room Mothers reunion and she was a beautiful redhead who enjoyed telling stories about growing up in New York City and going to the automat (that was a self-service cafeteria for those who are too young to remember) and Broadway shows.

Mrs. Lansinger also told us how she met her husband, Bud, while he was a soldier during World War II. "He told me that I was the only one for him," she remembered. "I thought, if he’s so sure, then there must be something to it." Mr. Lansinger was a Freedom native and the couple moved to the township after the war.

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Congratulations to the Rev. Janie Melick of The First Congregational Church of Freedom, who will celebrate 35 years as an ordained minister on Tuesday. I’ve heard Mrs. Melick speak several times and she always gives a timely message that draws on both her love of history and her love of Jesus and her knowledge of His Word.

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Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers!

Contact Amanda Garrett at agarrettsun@yahoo.com or 330-842-4374.