Tiffin Heritage on Ohio Memory!

Images from the first annual Heritage Festival in Tiffin, Ohio, 1979. Courtesy of the Seneca County Digital Library via Ohio Memory.
Images from the first annual Heritage Festival in Tiffin, Ohio, 1979. Courtesy of the Seneca County Digital Library via Ohio Memory.

Once a year on the third weekend of September, Tiffin, Ohio, celebrates its history with a weekend-long party. The Heritage Festival will be held this year on September 20th and 21st.

Cover of the Heritage Festival program, 1980. From the Seneca County Digital Library on Ohio Memory.
Heritage Festival program, 1980.

Tiffin-Seneca Public Library owns several of the early program booklets that were printed for the festival. The second through the fourth Heritage Festival programs are preserved on the Seneca County Digital Library through Ohio Memory. The library is fortunate to own a few of the program booklets, which give a glimpse of the history of Tiffin and Seneca County, Ohio.

The first festival was held on Sunday, September 9, 1979. The next year’s program states that “festival goers strolled among art and craft exhibits, visited the Seneca County Museum, enjoyed bands and dulcimer music, devoured bratwurst sandwiches and chicken dinners, watched the ladies garbed in old fashioned clothes compete for the titles of Miss and Mrs. Heritage Festival, toured many of Tiffin’s fine buildings and finally crowded the riverbanks for the festival’s highlights, the canoe race and “unusual watercraft” competition.”

The programs provide a wealth of information about the Festival itself, as well as the early history of Tiffin and Seneca County. Drawings and maps of the many early sites of Tiffin are contained in the programs, as well as drawings and photographs of the past prominent people in the area. One page  is devoted to  Josiah Hedges, the founder of Tiffin,  Edward Tiffin, the first governor of Ohio, for whom Tiffin is named, and Eratus Bowe, the first white settler in Seneca County.

Spinning demonstration at the 1980 Heritage Festival.
Spinning demonstration at the 1980 Heritage Festival.

Some things have changed since the very first Heritage Festival. It has grown to a two-day celebration, with festivities taking place in both downtown Tiffin and the Heritage Village at Hedges-Boyer Park. In the downtown area, music fills the air along with the tasty aromas of the food vendors. The Seneca County Glass Museum and the Seneca County Museum are open for tours. Heritage Village at Hedges-Boyer Park is a collection of folks who re-create life in the early pioneer days. They dress in period clothing, pitch their tents, and live as the pioneers did for one weekend.

The past program booklets from the early Heritage Festivals provide a wealth of history, drawings, maps, and pictures of downtown Tiffin, and the prominent people who have played a crucial role in the development of the city. The program booklets, as well as histories and historic photographs, can be found in the Seneca County Digital Library, preserving Ohio’s history through Ohio Memory.

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Thank you to Jo Anne Schiefer, Technical Services Manager at the Tiffin-Seneca Public Library, for this week’s post! To see more from the Tiffin-Seneca Public Library, visit the Seneca County Digital Library on Ohio Memory!

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