It was a real celebration in Dogtown


Our very own Miss Liberty, Betty Hall. Louise Swartzwalder | Bellville Star

Our very own Miss Liberty, Betty Hall. Louise Swartzwalder | Bellville Star

McZENA — It was an odd sight at the crossroads at this place once known as hundtstettl.

A uniformed fire department official was providing crowd control for a Fourth of July parade.

Patty Spreng, an organizer of this event which now draws people from all over, said maybe the name of the event will be changed to McZena Homecoming.

The parade always happens on the Sunday after July 4. People can put together a float, or appear in a car. Or march like the bevy of beauties who performed as majorettes. There was even a band, of people of all ages.

Of course Miss Liberty appeared.

The crossroads that come together in McZena are a county road and a township thoroughfare. It was hard to distinguish the difference between the two, because both paved thoroughfares were lined with viewers who somehow had gotten word of the event and journeyed to savor the fun.

McZena was once known as hundtstettl, the German name for dogtown. The name was bestowed on the tiny village by mostly German settlers.

The majorettes included one woman who is a Wayne County commissionier, Ann Obrecht.

For the record, Miss Liberty was this time, and has always been, Betty Hall.

One float at this year’s parade touted the quality of the water you could find in the area. The float had a fixture with running water, and several women sat aboard, holding signs that said “I only drank one,” or “I drank three.” The numbers referred to the pregnancies they had had — thanking the water.

Two recently produced children, Rhett and Rhea Spreng, sat in a tractor with their dad, Kevin, who was shepherding the float along the route.

There was a float named “Dogtown joint replacement.” It was staffed by oldsters who could claim some familiarity with a personal facility replacement of some sort.

The McZena Jolly Beekeepers sat atop a float which showed a beehive. They gave out Bit-O-Honey candies to the people in the crowd.

The parade started at 6:30, after local man about town. Don Nickles, rang a bell at the Hope United Methodist Church.

The uniformed young man who was performing crowd control functions said his name was Matt. He didn’t identify himself further. He was associated with the Western Holmes volunteer fire department.

He said he was just there,”doing my job.” He had been given instructions by Jeff Burgett, with the Lakeville volunteer fire department.

The parade included a giant Lexion harvester. There were flashy cars, some convertibles. One bore a woman touting her produce stand where people could get “the best melons.”

One man who had came from Pickerington rode a motorbike in the parade. He said he was there because he was a friend of the Spreng family.

Brian Bauer, touring the area before the parade started, at one point sidled up to the Jolly Beekeepers float and said “you might get stung over here.”

The people who attended brought their collapsible chairs. Nickles opened up Hope Church and provided extra chairs to viewers.

After the parade passed, people adjourned to the other church in McZena, St. John Lutheran church, where there was a potluck dinner/grilling session.

Our very own Miss Liberty, Betty Hall. Louise Swartzwalder | Bellville Star very own Miss Liberty, Betty Hall. Louise Swartzwalder | Bellville Star