Ruritan Founders’ Day setPublished 9:56pm Wednesday, May 8, 2013
The village of Holland and the Ruritan Club are celebrating the 85th anniversary of Ruritan, and all are invited to the little village for a party.
The annual Ruritan Founders’ Day will be take place May 18. The day’s events will kick off with a ceremony at the Ruritan National Monument at 10:45 a.m. The parade starts at 11, and the barbecue cookoff featuring many different Ruritan clubs competing to see who can make the best barbecue starts at noon.
In addition, Holland Athletic Association ball games and various children’s activities will be going on all day following the parade.
“This is our big 85th anniversary,” said Donald Worrell, whose grandfather was a charter member of the founding Holland club. “We’re trying to do it all up right and proper.”
Tom Downing of Suffolk and Jack Gwaltney of Holland formed the group that would come to be known as Ruritan when they recognized the need for an organization where community leaders could meet and discuss ways to make their community a better place to live. The first club was chartered in May 1928.
The concept spread across the country in the ensuing Great Depression because folks needed to help each other to survive. Clubs hold fundraisers to spend on community needs, which vary from place to place.
Worrell’s clan is part of a small set of five-generation Ruritan families — his father is a 64-year member of the Holland club, and his sons and grandchildren are also in Ruritan clubs.
Current Holland Ruritan Club President Calvin Jones encouraged everybody to come to the event.
“If you’ve never been to it, this would be a good day to do it,” he said. “It’s a great day, and it’s a good event where we celebrate the founding of a national organization right here in the village of Holland. That’s something that don’t happen in a whole lot of places.”
The day’s activities are free except for the barbecue cookoff, which is open to the public and costs $10 per ticket for all-you-can-eat samples.
“It’s something for the entire family to do, from 3 to 93,” Worrell said.
To get tickets, see any Holland Ruritan member or call 375-6218.