Delaware’s beloved Rutherford B. Hayes, America’s 19th president, returns home this weekend as years of discussion and planning come to a head with the unveiling of his statue at the southwest corner of Sandusky and William streets.
The ceremony will be part of Main Street Delaware’s October First Friday celebration, which will run from 6-9 p.m. in downtown Delaware.
Festivities for the unveiling of the statue, which was sculpted by Alan Cottrill, will begin at 6:30 p.m. Lee Yoakum, the community affairs coordinator for the City of Delaware, will serve as the master of ceremony. Following his opening, there will be a presentation of colors by the Rutherford B. Hayes High School JROTC Cadets and the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner by the Rutherford B. Hayes High School “Hayes Singers.”
Bill Rietz, who chairs the Rutherford B. Hayes Heritage Fund Committee that led the project, will speak on the journey that was the Hayes statue. Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle, Delaware County Commissioner Gary Merrell, OhioHealth Grady Memorial Hospital President Steve Bunyard, Greif, Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer Peter Watson, and Ambassador of Paraguay to the United States Manuel María Cáceres Cardozo are also set to speak at the ceremony.
Following the remarks, the plaque and statue, which will include a fountain, will be officially unveiled. “Fanfare for the 19th President,” composed by Judge David A. Hejmanowski and commissioned by the Rutherford B. Hayes High School Band, will be played before Yoakum closes the ceremony.
In addition to the statue ceremony, the Delaware Fire Department will have fire trucks and other equipment on display for children to explore, and city firefighters will be on hand to present fire extinguisher demonstrations and more in an effort to promote community safety.
“We are very excited about this week and the opportunity to highlight important people in our community: firefighters and Rutherford B. Hayes,” Main Street Executive Director Susie Bibler said. “ Over the last few years, I have had the privilege to participate on the Hayes Comes Home committee. It is rewarding to work with a group of individuals from our community who had a vision for our downtown and worked together to see that vision come to fruition.”
Main Street Delaware has also partnered with The Wonder Within yoga studio, located at 29 N. Sandusky St., to provide a free yoga class with Dan Nevins, a United States Army veteran and wounded warrior. Nevins will teach a free, 30-minute yoga class that will begin at 7:30 p.m.
Anyone who wishes to attend the free class is asked to register online at www.thewonderwithin.com as space is limited. Participants should also remember to bring their yoga mats.
October’s First Friday is sponsored by COhatch and Performance Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram Delaware.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.