Troy Homecoming Rich in History
Troy Twp. – This past weekend Troy Township held its Annual Homecoming Celebration behind the community center off State Route 422, near the intersection of State Route 700. They had many things one would expect to find at an old fashioned homecoming celebration. Horseshoe tournaments, magic show, Civil War encampment, pick-up truck pulls, a parade, live music, pet show, crafts, food, cloggers, Jungle Terry and his menagerie and so much more. The event was a time to slow down, kick back and enjoy a relaxing weekend getting reacquainted with one’s neighbors and community.
The event kicked-off Friday morning with a pancake breakfast followed by crowning of a queen later in the evening, to preside over the festivities. They also held a Mrs. Troy Contest and a Mr. Best Legs Contest. The event ran all weekend with a parade, live music and a hot air balloon launch.
On display in the community house was the Troy Museum which held the history of the township and the homecoming celebrations of yesteryear. When one stepped into the history museum they were greeted by a committee member who was well informed on the event’s history, which was quite interesting. I discovered that although the township was established in 1811, historians believe the homecoming wasn’t started until 1911. Historians believe the posters that advertised the homecoming celebrations like the 150th Troy Homecoming were actually referring to the year the township was settled, not the actual homecoming celebration. The first homecoming in 1911 was actually a Troy School Reunion. Sometime later it was referred to as the Troy Homecoming and School Reunion, then finally Troy Homecoming as we know it today.
The slide show in the museum took one down memory lane, as they could view homecomings from years gone by. One could see photos from the early years through the modern day celebration. The surprise of the day was when I found myself in pictures of the event in the 1970’s. Just a note here I am not from Troy, I am actually from Newbury, but I remember going to the event as a child and being in several of the parades with a 4-H club. Back then, parades were all the rage and many 4-H clubs did the local parade circuit.)
The 1970’s were interesting, (remember some of the things from the time period?) but those pictures were nothing compared to some of the photos from early years. Those pictures from the early years showed Troy School as it was then and a community celebration that was the event of summer, for the region. Folks came from all over to celebrate and the school grounds were a flurry of activity. The intersection of State Routes 422 and now 700 were lined with folks anxiously awaiting the parade. The festival was a community-oriented celebration that featured the parade, family-style games, a dance, flower show, baseball game, a concert, greased pole climbing and a community dinner. Some of those traditions are still carried out today. They still have the parade, although is somewhat smaller than the early years partly because they can only close the state route for a short time period. Family oriented games are still a part of the event, as well as a dance, and the dinner. They have a variety of live entertainment now, which replaces the concert of days gone by.
In the early years, the parade started at the school and traveled down State Route 700 going north, then turning right on State Route 422 going east. Folks would line the streets and anxiously await the parade. It appears that he prime spots for viewing at the time were the intersection of the two state routes and in front of Welshfield Inn. The parade now starts at Nash Road and ends at the community house. Today, folks come out to see the parade but the days of crowds lining the streets seem to be a thing of the past.
Today, the festival not only has games and contests, they also hold a raffle to help with the funding. This year they sold raffle tickets for a side of beef for $1 per ticket or $5 for six tickets. The beef was locally grown and donated by Blackeye Farm of Troy Township and the processing is being donated by Geauga Farms Country Meats on State Route 422. Second prize was a Weber Spirit SP-320 Gas Grill. Third prize is The Best of Geauga County Basket full of merchandise and gift certificates from local businesses such as Blazin Bills, Italian Garden, Marathon 422 Xpress, Mulligan’s Pub and Welshfield Inn.
Troy Homecoming was originally a one-day affair and now it is a weekend event taking one back to a simpler time. It is a time to return home to get reacquainted with the area and the neighbors, celebrating the region’s heritage. The event started 102 years ago and in the early 2000’s lost its luster and the event ceased. In 2011, a group of folks revived the tradition, just in time for the township’s Bicentennial.
Troy Homecoming is held on the second weekend in August of each year on the grounds of the community house. This year they celebrated the township’s 202nd Birthday and the third year since the homecomings revival in 2011.
Interesting fact about Troy I ran across looking through the history. Did you ever wonder why sometimes Troy Township is often referred to as Welshfield? I did, and found out that in 1820 one of the first settlers named Jacob Welsh had promised to give the town 50 acres of land if they would name the region Welshfield, which they did. However, Jacob Welsh never fullfilled the promise, causing the leaders of the area to officially change the name to Troy Township. Although the name was changed to Troy, the post office’s name remained Welshfield because there was already a Troy in southern Ohio. Today, the section of State Route 422 that is between State Route 700 and Nash Road is still often referred to as Welshfield and the outlying areas are often referred to as Troy Township even though it is all officially Troy Township.