ELSMORE — Pristine weather greeted hundreds of spectators and participants on Saturday as Elsmore celebrated its 41st annual Rural-Town Day.
The annual parade once again kicked off the festivities with floats and vehicles along a two-block stretch of Elsmore’s Second Street.
Watching it all in their customary front row seats were Elsmore Ruritan members Max Ludlum, Martin Henderson and Gene Wolfe.
The trio are the last of the 13 charter members who formed the Elsmore Ruritan club in 1967.
The pleasant weather was nothing new, Henderson bragged.
“In all these years, we’ve never had a bad Elsmore Day,” Henderson said. “There were days where it threatened to rain, and one time a few years it rained during the parade, but it cleared away as soon as the parade was done.”
Ruritan members do more than organize the annual celebration, which is capped with an afternoon free bean feed.
“We helped with ball teams for a while, and today we seem to cut down a lot of trees,” Henderson said.
The club also played a role in assisting Thrive Allen County with acquiring new playground equipment for the town about a year ago. The feature kept scores of youngsters occupied throughout the day.
“We’re just your typical civic organization, looking to help anybody who needs it,” Wolfe said.
Ruritan also makes donations to Marmaton Valley High School clubs, awards college scholarships, gives Christmas gift bags to senior citizens and school children, sponsors Allen County Fair trophies, helps clean up at Bourbon County State Fishing Lake (Elsmore Lake), assists with Vacation Bible School, sponsors a dog and cat vaccination clinic, serves homemade ice cream to Moran Manor residents and sponsors a fireworks show each July 4.
But their most appreciated work may be helping elderly and disabled with household chores and transportation.
“We’ll take them shopping or to the doctor or whatever,” Henderson said.
The Ruritan group once peaked at more than 50 members, although numbers have dwindled through the years to its current membership of 26.
Ludlum, Henderson and Wolfe are now counted as honorary members. They’ll still attend meetings and assist with projects, but they let Ruritan’s younger members do the bulk of the group’s civic activities.
“It’s still fun to get to go out and meet people,” Henderson said.
“And we’re still looking for new members,” he added. “We’d always like to grow.”
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