Ruritans plan celebration

Published 10:13 pm Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Holland Ruritan Club will celebrate 89 years of Ruritan at its annual Founders Day event this Saturday.

“This is the one time a year we celebrate the anniversary of a national organization that was founded in Holland, which is now part of Suffolk,” said Donald Worrell, past National Ruritan president.

The event kicks off at 11 a.m. with a parade in the village of Holland. Visitors should arrive in town before 10:30 a.m., as the streets will be shut down 30 minutes before the parade begins.

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“We will have people there from many different states, all over the country,” Worrell said. “We will have many entries in the parade and a large group of high school bands, antique cars and tractors, floats, athletic teams and the Shriners.”

This is the 35th year that the Holland Ruritan Club has put on a Founders Day parade.

“It’s a milestone anniversary for the event,” Worrell said.

The parade lasts about an hour, and at noon, the barbecue cook-off begins. Local Ruritan clubs will compete to see whose barbecue will be judged the best by ticketholders. Hushpuppies will be served along with the barbecue, and the winner of the barbecue cook-off will be announced by 1:30 p.m.

There will be a petting zoo for the kids, and vendors will be on the grounds with their crafts. Little League games will be played all day long.

Tom Downing of Suffolk and Jack Gwaltney of Holland formed the group that would come to be known as Ruritan in May 1928, 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.

Donald Worrell’s grandfather, Harvey L. Worrell Sr., was one of the founding members of the organization. There are now four generations of the Worrell family in Ruritan.

Ruritan Clubs have fundraisers and free events for the local community during the year to give back in the form of scholarships, Scouting events and assisting with local charities. The local Ruriteens (high school students) assist with Ruritan events, and many have been recipients of a Ruritan Scholarship. Donations to your local Ruritan club stay local.

Tickets to the barbecue cook-off are $10 each and can be purchased at the gate or by calling Worrell at 375-6218 for advance tickets. The rest of the event is free.