I’m fortunate enough to live in a beautiful part of North Central Ohio; the Village of Bellville in the Clear Fork Valley. It reminds me of New England with the rolling hills, trees and farmland.
Originally, in 1808, two men forged a road from Fredericktown to Bellville. That was the beginning of the Village. In 1815, Robert Bell laid out the original plat and that was the real beginning of the Village of Bellville.
At times, the Village is like Mayberry, straight from the old Andy Griffith Show. However, unlike Mayberry, there is always something going on in Bellville.
Our Village is like a Norman Rockwell painting with a tree-lined Main Street, restored old buildings and friendly people.
The Village is known for its beautiful old bandstand that was built in 1878. It’s the scene of a lot of local activities.
Every year, couples will contact our mayor and ask him (or her) to perform their marriage ceremony in the bandstand. Again, like something from a Norman Rockwell painting.
The Village green is the site of the yearly Easter Egg Hunt in spring and becomes a skating rink in winter.
Our annual parades are a big occasion, especially on the fourth of July, with everyone lining Main Street to watch the different floats pass by including our Clear Fork High School marching band, the AmVets and the American Legion as we recognize and thank our many veterans.
We still have our old RFD store, now called Elzy Milling and Trade, where we all go for our farm needs. It’s a great place to catch up on local news!
We’re there every Saturday morning to get needed supplies for my miniature donkeys, Samson and Delilah, and to stock up on bird seed for the dozen bird feeders on the property.
And we still have our small grocery store, no box store for us, owned for many years by Bellville residents Sharon and Bernie Hollar.
It’s the kind of Village where you’re made to feel at home, from our beautifully restored bed and breakfast in an historical building to our home-owned restaurant, the V&M. If you want “fast food,” you’ll have to go to the interstate!
If you really want to catch up on the news, just go to Whitey’s Barbershop on Main Street.
We have our farmers' market throughout the summer where you can purchase all types of farm produce, glistening with moisture, fresh from the fields and gardens.
We still have hitching posts to accommodate the Amish who shop and bank in Bellville and bring produce to the farmers' market.
Bellville has the Ohio Police Officers Special Olympics Torch Run come through every June. Bellville Police Officer Burt Skeen makes the run from Bellville to Fredericktown, a distance of approximately 12 miles, up hill and down dale, to pass the torch to the next officer as it makes its way from Cleveland to Columbus for the Ohio Special Olympics games each year. Officer Skeen has participated in the Torch Run for the past eight years.
The Village has an annual street fair; this year will mark the 164th street fair. There are only two street fairs left in the state of Ohio and ours is the oldest. The only time we didn’t have a fair was in 1942 during World War II.
The street fair brings so many people to Bellville that it’s been called the “World’s Fair” for many, many years.
The Village has approximately 1,900 residents but the fair brings 40,000 to 50,000 people to the Village to enjoy the four-day Bellville Agricultural Society Street Fair with the midway and all the rides and also the tents set up on Main Street with the 4-H kids proudly showing their animals.
On the Village green and in buildings along Main Street, we have displays of homemade items from sewing to all types of home-grown fruits and vegetables and tables loaded with home canned products.
Residents take a lot of pride in Bellville, many families having lived here for generations.
I’m proud to be part of this community.