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What a historic day it was

Victoria Kemper, Democrat News
As the sun began to set, a crowd gathers on the northside of the courthouse to square dance with The Punches, Aug. 19, during A Historic Day at the Square.

“A Historic Day at the Square” was an afternoon/evening of old fashioned fun, capped off with fireworks and square dancing.

“The event not only met my expectations but exceeded them,” Madison County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tessa Rehkop said. “I was so blown away by the turnout!”

The event, presented by Covenant Care and The Madison County Chamber of Commerce, featured a pie baking contest, dunking booth, stick horse races, greased pig competition, pickin’ on the square, concessions, square dancing and more.

“I think the evening felt a little surreal,” Rehkop said. “We’ve never had an event like this around the square with music and dancing, at least not since 1915, the event that we based A Historic Day at the Square on. It was so nice seeing so many of the community members having fun together.”

When asked what her favorite part of the event was, Rehkop said, the greased pig contest.

“The kids were so excited to try to catch the pig,” Rehkop said. “My only regret is that we couldn’t let more kids participate. We cut it off at 25 because we didn’t want too many kids in the pen at once, and we also didn’t want to wear down the pig too much by having more than two rounds.”

One highlight, or at least exciting moment, of the day was when the greased pig escaped the pen. Luckily all the kids were still around and managed to quickly catch it again.

Rehkop said, next year, if the greased pig contest returns, they will get at least two pigs.

“I’m also happy to report that I’ve received videos of the pig (Hamilton) at his new home on a farm near St. Louis,” Rehkop said. “He looked like he’s living the high life as a pet and was getting acquainted with the family’s dog.”

One thing which made the event truly “historic” was the addition of alcohol sales on the square.

Rehkop said, it went over really well with no incidents.

“I think, as a community, it felt a little weird being able to walk around the square for the first time in over 200 years while drinking beer” Rehkop said. “Prohibition is finally over!”

The goal of the day was to raise funds to help revitalize the downtown area. Organizers we were able to raise about $20,000, which is what they were hoping to do. This was accomplished through sponsorships, donations, food, beer and merch sales.

Donations came in a few unique forms during the event with everyone ready to jump in and help.

“We had a donation of $100 to fill the dunk tank with ice before the self-proclaimed ‘Coolest guy in Madison County’, Steve Jarowzewski, got in the dunk tank,” Rehkop said. “It was a highlight of the evening, and I think half the attendees gathered to watch him get dunked.”

Victoria Kemper, Democrat News
The Dunking Booth sponsored by Statler Realty is a fan favorite of the event. Crowds gathered as the each volunteer, Donal Firebaugh, Joe Clauser, Travis Parker Steven Jarowzewski, Mark Stamp, and Nick Adams enter the booth.

Rehkop reported there was also a very generous donation of $1,000 from one anonymous individual.

“This took so many volunteers to make this day happen,” Rehkop said. “It was an event for the community that was put on by the community. To see so many people come out in the heat and dedicate their Saturday to make this event happen was truly humbling and it’s one of the reasons I love this community so much!”

Rehkop said, she would like to thank all the sponsors (full list below), the Downtown Revitalization Committee, Madison County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, City of Fredericktown, Fredericktown Fire Department, Fredericktown Police Department, Madison County Ambulance District, Madison County Sheriff’s Office, Madison County, all the volunteers, the dunk booth participants, the pie baking contestants, all the participants in the activities, and everyone who came out to enjoy the day.

“Look forward to many more improvements and additions to Historic Downtown Fredericktown,” Rehkop said. “Also, A Historic Day at the Square will definitely be back next year!”

This year’s sponsors of A Historic Day at the Square include: Covenant Care Services; Melvin Mills Roofing; Shelter Insurance – Craig Wood, Agent; Cap America; Living the Dream Outdoor Properties; Statler Realty; Sargent Construction; Bess Insurance Agency; The Depot Cafe; First State Community Bank; D & N Residential Renovation LLC; Grace Church of the Heartland; Thal’s Hardware; Brewen’s Processing & Catering; Laut’s Hog Farm; Old Mine House; The Flower Box; Gifford’s Lumber Company; Fredericktown Christian Church; Madison Medical Center; St. Michael’s Catholic Church; C-Barn; Cedar Creek Hardwoods, Inc.; New Era Bank; Azalea Festival Board; Black River Electric Cooperative; Knights of Columbus; Ozark Manor; Torrez Sanitation; Vicki McKinnis; Ward’s Farm Center; The Lion’s Club; Robin Yount; Gloria Koewing; Cedar Falls Tactical; Debby Boone; Faith Family Worship; 1st Baptist Church; Thrive Church; Calvary Church; Higdon Church; The Tessons; Chelsey Collier; Jeralyn Buford; Rachel Detring; Cheryl Uhl; Carol Stephens; Madison County Heating & Cooling; Gateway Motors; Chuck’s Short Stop; Ozarks Federal Savings & Loan; SMTS; Steve Chatman; Bill Brewen; The Optimist Club; Janice Phillips; Plaza Tire; Bobby Spain; Shannon Cox; Salem Plateau; and Bondfire.

Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Democrat News. She can be reached at


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