Fiddlers Grove Foundation board chair Pat Ryan opened the ceremony with a prayer, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance led by members of Chapter 1004 of the Vietnam Veterans of America.
Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto spoke a little about the historical culture of the area found in the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in Lebanon.
“When we talk about the heritage that’s here, we have a chance to go back and relive some memories,” said Hutto. “If it wasn’t for this place here, preserving that, we wouldn’t be able to hear those old stories.”
Hutto went on to thank the volunteers who work year-round to ensure the attractions are operational.
“We really enjoy it when it becomes time for the fair,” said Hutto. “It’s a great time to get a candied apple or one of those Klondike Bars and kind of walk through there and reminisce, but this is truly a treasure for our county on a day-to-day basis, especially when you talk about tourism.”
Hutto introduced a new partnership with the Wilson County Veteran’s Museum. He said plans were for students to tour the museum, which will be followed by a visit to Fiddlers Grove, where they will learn even more about history.
After Hutto finished, he introduced Wilson County Veterans Affairs director Michael McPherson to speak briefly to the crowd.
“We have that veterans museum over there, and we’re doing really good things with it,” said McPherson. “We’re allowing the mortar of that building to preserve and protect our veterans’ history, and not just the veterans but Wilson County itself.”
McPherson said he was excited about the partnership with Fiddlers Grove, as it will allow students to explore history in a more hands-on setting than a classroom.
“Sometimes I think our educators need different tools to bring the tangibles back to life,” said McPherson. “Those things in that book that can’t be touched, felt or seen.”
The event ended with Linda McKenzie, who sang “God Bless America.”