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Shindig planned for downtown revitalizing

A Historic Day at the Square is planned for 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Aug. 19, in Fredericktown.

Victoria Kemper,

In the past few months, the downtown district of Fredericktown has become a bustling area with the addition of a popular new restaurant and the license office. According to a group of motivated citizens, this is only the beginning of the revitalization of downtown Fredericktown.

“When you ask the business owners and citizens what they would most like to see in Fredericktown, the answer is always, ‘a busier downtown with more restaurants and shops.'” Madison County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tessa Rehkop said. “So the Madison County Chamber of Commerce formed the Downtown Revitalization Committee to get the ball rolling.”

The committee, which was formed in February, consists of local business owners, retirees, historians, and city officials. The committee includes some members of the community who have worked with revitalization efforts in the past, but the meeting was open to anyone wanting to help.

“There are several things the committee has identified as needing done downtown, and once we have more funding, we will prioritize them,” Rehkop said. “This includes parking, wayfinding signs, façade improvements, murals, lighting, seating, cleaning etc.”

Rehkop said, in addition to the improvements mentioned, the committee would also like to create its own matching grant for businesses in the Historic District to make façade improvements.

As a way to raise funds for these efforts, “A Historic Day at the Square” has been planned for 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 19. Every penny of funds raised during this event will go to downtown revitalization.

“The committee got the idea after seeing where a similar event was held back in 1915,” Rehkop said. “We tried to copy the event right down to the prizes where a 50-lb bag of sugar and flour was awarded for the pie baking contest.”

Other activities will include a greased pig contest, dunking booth with popular locals, (mini) log cabin building, wheel barrow races, and square dancing with The Punches. Also, this will be the first event held in the courthouse square where alcohol will be sold, due to the current ordinance change.

Rehkop said it really will be a “historic” day.

“So come out and help us revitalize downtown by buying some food or beer, or participating in the dunking booth and merchandise sales during the event,” Rehkop said. “We’ve sold all of our sponsorships for the day, but any donations are greatly appreciated and donors will be mentioned in the event program.”

The night is surely to go off with a bang because the fireworks display, which was postponed in July, will now be moved to Aug. 19 during intermission of The Punches Square Dancing. The committee would like to give a special thanks to the Optimist Club for organizing this portion.

If anyone is interested in volunteering or donating, please contact Tessa Rehkop 573-944-1495 or

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