Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

September 25, 2013

Avon celebrates with fun and history

By Devan Strebing devan.strebing@flyergroup.com
Hendricks County Flyer

---- — AVON — The annual “Celebrating Avon” festival, filled with history and fun, took place this past Saturday at the Avon-Washington Township Public Library.

The festival includes events that depict the heritage of Avon and Washington Township.

“We thought the original event was great, but we’ve now added more events to see our heritage,” Library Director Laurel T. Setser said. “We decided to create this event for people that live in Avon to know how the community has grown.”

The festival has been around for about 10 years. It originally started inside the library, but has now expanded to the parking lot and throughout the library grounds.

There were a variety of events for both children and adults.

Among the hands-on demonstrations were wood carving and burning, quilting, knitting, spinning, and crafts.

There was also a petting zoo and entertainment throughout the day. A bluegrass band started at 11:30 a.m., and there was a candy drop for children, a library staff tricycle race, and a presentation ceremony.

A bronze Montana bison sculpture created by Marc Pierce was donated to the library by Lee Parsons in memory of William Temple Hornaday, who was considered the father of the American conservation movement. Born in Washington Township, Hornaday revolutionized museum exhibits by displaying wildlife in their natural settings. In addition, he is credited with discovering the American crocodile and saving the American bison and the Alaskan fur seal from extinction. This sculpture is now on permanent display at the adult reference desk in the library.

A restored painting was donated to the library by Joyce Huron Trent, a descendant of Benjamin Abbot Huron who moved to Washington Township in 1832. The painting is of the original house that Benjamin lived in; Huran Trent inherited the painting from her grandfather.

“The painting gives us a vision of what that part of Washington Township looked like 100 years ago,” said Setser.

Rex McClain, a native of Washington Township and a descendant of Michael McClain, one of the original pioneers who settled here in the early 1800s, was presented with the Outstanding Citizen Award for his community service and contributions to the Avon community. He was presented with a symbolic key to the town.

McClain graduated from Avon High School in 1956, and continued to work in the janitorial business at Avon schools while attending Indiana Central University, which is now the University of Indianapolis.

He was an active member of the Avon Optimists Club for 50 years and a 40-year member of the Danville Masonic Lodge. He is currently on the Hendricks County Historical Society board of directors, and served on the Avon-Washington Township Public Library board for 32 years. He was library board president in 2011 and ‘12, and retired from the board in May.

In 2011, his community service was acknowledged when he was named Avon Founding Citizen of the Year.

“We have a true old-fashioned type of event with old-fashioned activities here at ‘Celebrating Avon’” said Diane Elmore, who is in charge of community relations at the library. “We try to get things here that you don’t see at every festival.”