Perrysburg High School's Women's Select Show Choir performs at the Harrison Rally Day festival in downtown Perrysburg. Festival-goers also were treated to a fine art show Saturday.
The Blade/Jetta Fraser
Editor's note: The original version of this story listed an incorrect winner in the juried art show. Jack Schultz won second place.
Frank Butwin wants visitors to the annual Harrison Rally Day in downtown Perrysburg to know the festival is about more than just shopping and eating.
Dressed head to toe as John Tyler, the vice presidential running mate of Whig party candidate William Henry Harrison in 1840, Mr. Butwin educated his fellow Perrysburg residents and visitors to their fair city that a political rally once drew between 40,000 and 60,000 people here.
"What'd they eat? Where'd they live?" he wonders aloud, waving down Louisiana Avenue toward what would have been undeveloped areas in the mid-19th century.
PHOTO GALLERY: Harrison Rally Days
Those campaign supporters marched from Perrysburg to Fort Meigs, construction of which General Harrison oversaw in 1813.
"Perrysburg has never had that many people before and probably never will," said Mr. Butwin, who was on his own campaign of sorts for Historic Perrysburg, Inc. The organization is hoping to open its own museum dedicated to area history.
People marching up and down the downtown thoroughfare Saturday may have had some of that history on their minds, but many just wanted to find that just-right item from a merchant's booth or sample a bit from the Taste of Perrysburg food vendors.
"There's a lot of jewelry here, but this is going to make a difference worldwide," said Rebecca Biesiada, of Perrysburg, who bought a necklace from the Trade Justice Mission booth.
Liz Marczak, a Perrysburg native who now lives in Chicago, was selling beaded earrings, bracelets, and necklaces through the fair-trade group Okoa Jewelry, some of which she designs herself.
The pieces are made by women in various countries who were rescued from human trafficking, Ms. Marczak said. Okoa markets the jewelry and then gives the profits to women in the cooperative in Asia and Africa.
On Saturday several women, many with growing baby-bump bellies, visited the booth of Perrysburg resident Sara Young, who was selling children's accessories she made through her home business, Raining Babies.
Tiny little neckties and suspenders hung from a rack, amid piles of feathery and flowery hair bows.
"I'm trying to do more boys' stuff because of all the girl vendors," said Ms. Young, who also is an infant teacher at a local day-care center.
Kelli Kadel, of Toledo, was expecting a baby boy in two weeks and ordered matching suspenders for a baseball-themed tie she purchased at the festival.
"With newborn pictures and stuff, you want to make sure they look as cute as girls, a little manly," Ms. Kadel said.
After enduring two baby brothers, Perrysburg seventh-grader Bailey Lewicz was more than happy to pick through the girl items and steer her expectant mother, Melissa Lewicz, to headbands in the pink and black colors of her gymnastics team.
"We can't get everything pink!" Ms. Lewicz laughed, although both items she was considering for her newborn daughter were indeed the girlie color.
Fine art in all colors of the rainbow filled booths at the festival.
"Today is a wonderful time of giving back to the community of Perrysburg," said Corrine Amico, president of the Perrysburg Area Arts Council, which was a cosponsor of Harrison Rally Day with the Chamber of Commerce.
The Rally for the Arts portion of the annual festival also is the arts council's major fund-raiser for the year, Ms. Amico said. Rental fees for artists' booths up and down Lousiana Avenue benefit the non-profit group's programs.
The PAAC also gave out a little money today in prizes for the juried art show it organized. Best in Show, and $400, was awarded to artist Aaron Bivens. Christopher Brautigan, Jack Schultz, and Christine Largent were the first-place through third-place winners, respectively.
Contact Rebecca Conklin Kleiboemer at 419-356-8786 or firstname.lastname@example.org.