April 18, 2014

Elyria
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New London / Wakeman: N.L. celebrates 99th Labor Day Festival

Editor’s note: A technical error prevented this column from appearing Thursday. Next week, it will run its regular day.

Roger Harner was the man of the hour at the 99th annual Firelands Labor Day Festival in New London last weekend, which drew record crowds of more than 10,000 people.

Not only was he was he the grand master of last Saturday’s Rotary-sponsored parade, he also pushed the plunger who set off the 99,000 firecrackers Monday night before the fireworks display.

Harner, a 1954 graduate of New London High School, was honored for organizing the parade for the past 33 years and for his 50 years as a volunteer with the fire department, where he now serves as assistant fire chief.

The parade that Harner led featured bands, festival queens, horses, cars, fire trucks and floats, adhering to this year’s theme — “New London — the friendliest spot in Ohio.”

The Hartland Center Church float won the Bob Hardy Memorial Trophy for best overall group, as well as best youth group. Pure Country Dancers and the Berlin Heights Basket Festival Queen and Court also placed first in their categories.

Making its debut this year was the greased pig contest.

The high point of the weekend was Terry Granneman’s breathtaking fireworks display. This year, it was preceded by the 99,000 firecrackers in honor of the 99th year of the festival.

Granneman already is working with the village to make the 100th festival fireworks the best ever, and a fundraising drive has started to help defray the cost of next year’s extravaganza.

SCHOOL BELLS: Classes are in session at both Western Reserve and New London school districts, and both schools welcome a new administrator.

At Western Reserve, Doug Solet has taken over as superintendent, and at New London, Dennis Gable is the middle school principal.

LITTLE LEAGUE: New London Little League will choose officers at its annual meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at 17 N. Railroad St. Call Susan Albaugh at (419) 929-2923 for information.

AUCTION: The Wakeman Congregational Church is accepting donations for its 8th Annual Talent and Service Auction Sept. 22. Call the church at (440) 839-2316.

Contact Ellen Simmons at 329-7155 or e-mail metro@chroniclet.com.