A Strawberry Shortcake Social is planned at the former community building, 212 Main Street, in Gays Mills on July 6 from 2-4 p.m.
The fundraiser will help provide money to maintain the historic building as plans are made for it’s future.
Shortcake from the local baker Albert Zegiel and strawberries from Hillcrest Orchard will be on hand along with vanilla ice cream and root beer for those who would prefer a float!
Area musician and legend Ray Hadley will perform a song he wrote specifically about the building, along with other original, traditional and country music. Other area musicians will join him.
The building was constructed in 1938 by workers with the Civilian Conservation Corps, Company 1604, stationed two miles north of Gays Mills, largely thanks to the tireless efforts of Gays Mills resident Max Nelson.
“He had a rough time getting people behind it – they just didn’t want to spend the money,” recounted his daughter Barbara Gordinier of Mt. Sterling. “He was discouraged at times, but he didn’t give up.”
“There were a lot of folks who wanted a regular theater floor in the bottom, with the slanted floor, but he said, you now, theater might go out someday and people will want to use this for something else,” Gordinier said.
Nelson proved prescient, for eventually the theater did close. Since then it has housed the village library, special event, community meeting, dances, concerts and more.
Now the building faces a new challenge – lack of municipal money for its upkeep. With the new Gays Mills Community Commerce Center built to move the village offices and library out of the flood plain, the village can no longer afford to maintain the space. Yet a combination of desire to continue using the space and scheduling conflicts and incompatible use issues at the new community hall, the space has continued to see use.
A small group of residents from the village and the surrounding community are seeking keep the building available without creating a budgetary burden to the village while a long-term self-sustaining plan is formed for the building. Fundraising efforts have successfully paid all of the buildings expenses for the year, thus far.
The group sees the structure as an important part of the village, helping preserve the remaining downtown as a vital space.
The suggested minimum donation for the strawberry shortcake is $5 per person and $2 for children five and under.
All are welcome.
For more information, or to join in the fundraising and/or planning efforts, please call Joanne Gonos at 872-2583.