Ruritans celebrate founding in Holland

Published 10:52 pm Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Chefs grill up hamburgers and hot dogs at last year's Ruritan Founders Day in Holland. This year's rendition of the annual event is coming up Saturday.

There’s plenty in store for people of all ages in the village of Holland this weekend.

The 83rd annual Ruritan Founders Day will be held in Holland all day on Saturday. It features a large parade, a barbecue cook-off, craft vendors, youth baseball games, food and more.

“This is for everyone in the community, and there’s a little something there for people of different ages,” said Donald Worrell, a member of the Holland Ruritan Club.

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Children’s activities will include the entertaining units in the parade, such as horses, floats and the Shriners’ mini-cars. Adults will enjoy the antique cars and the barbecue cook-off.

The day celebrates the founding of the first Ruritan Club in Holland on May 21, 1928. The annual celebration is held on the Saturday each May closest to the actual anniversary date. This year, it happens to fall on May 21 exactly.

Tom Downing, of Suffolk, and Jack Gwaltney, of Holland, are known as the co-founders of Ruritan. The two men formed the Holland Ruritan Club 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.

Saturday’s events will kick off at 11 a.m., when the parade will head down Holland’s main thoroughfares. The roads will close at 10:30 in preparation for the parade, which includes six high school bands. This year’s grand marshal is Col. Frank March, a Suffolk native who is a member of the Holy Neck Ruritan Club. He currently serves in the military and is based at the Pentagon.

The barbecue cook-off, with Ruritan clubs from all over the region, begins at noon. Tickets are $10.

Entertainment throughout the day will include music by Double Shoot and Courtney Haywood. The youth baseball games will continue throughout the day.

For the children, there will be bounce houses, a big slide, obstacle course, bungee run, snow cones and cotton candy available for all.

Call 375-6218 for more information or tickets for the barbecue cook-off.