Underground Railroad Days set for July 8-10

The seventh annual Underground Railroad Days will be in Vandalia July 8-10. (Leader photo/File)

The seventh annual Underground Railroad Days will be in Vandalia July 8-10. (Leader photo/File)

What started out as an idea written out on a lined yellow sheet of paper has turned into one of Cass County’s must-see annual events.

The seventh annual Underground Railroad Days in Vandalia will be held July 8-10. The event is put on through the efforts of the Village of Vandalia and the Underground Railroad Society of Cass County.

The late Bill Ayers was the brainchild behind the celebration. Before his sudden death in 2010, Ayers, a Quaker, drew up a plan on that yellow sheet of paper and the Underground Railroad Days were born.

Ayers wanted a softball tournament, he wanted arts and crafts booths and he also wanted tours of the Underground Railroad sites to tell that story.

The former public works director for Vandalia wanted to see classic cars, music, yard sales, crafts, tours of the Underground Railroad sites and a softball tournament.

The first Underground Railroad Days in 2010, held in July, had all those items, save the softball tournament.

In its second year, following his death, the celebration added the tour of the Bonine House, which had been purchased by the Underground Railroad Society of Cass County.

This year’s opening night, July 8, will feature a presentation at the historic Chain Lake Baptist Church. Saturday and Sunday, July 9 and 10 will feature presentations and displays in the Vandalia Youth Center, guided tours of Underground Railroad sites, a Civil War living history encampment and music at the Ramptown Cabin in Milo Barnes Park.

The historic Bonine House will once again be open for tours.

The Village of Vandalia is sponsoring a soul food dinner, family entertainment and vendor booths Saturday and Sunday.

There will be a car show from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and a Sunday morning church service in Milo Barnes Park beginning at 11 a.m.

Hours for Underground Railroad Days are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission and parking is free.

For more information on the car show and non-food vendor booths call Vandalia Village President Beverly Young at (269) 476-2344.

A complete schedule of activities will be posted closer to the event at www.urscc.org.

 

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