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Kentucky by Heart: Grant’s Lick 225th Homecoming Celebration Sept. 17 to offer trip down memory lane

By Steve Flairty
NKyTribune Columnist

On September 17, it’ll be a trip back through Northern Kentucky history day, specifically featuring a community in southern Campbell County. “The Grant’s Lick 225th Homecoming Celebration,” from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., will be held on that date at 941 Clay Ridge Road in Alexandria.

(Click for larger image)

Being raised there for part of my youth and with fond memories, I’m excited, and I’ve talked to friends who are excited also. It promises to be a full day, according to Linda Bray-Schafer and Ken Reis, who spearheaded the event.

Billed as having “10 stops with 40 historical sites,” the proceedings start at 9 in downtown Grant’s Lick with a revealing of a thirty-feet long by nine-feet high mural recently painted by Ken Reis, along with the painting and technical support of a professional artist, Michael DeMaria. It should serve as a fitting focal point of interest. “I decided to use the 1896 picture of Grant’s Lick I found,” said Reis. “Two of us spent four days painting.” Reis also noted happily that because the mural sits under a roof, “it should last a long time.”

From 10 a.m. through 2:30 p.m., tours of Grant’s Lick Elementary School (my alma mater) and a bluegrass and gospel music program will be in session, with the music being at the Grant’s Lick Baptist Church. Interspersed with the music program, a homecoming ceremony/ welcome will run at the site from 12 to 12:30. At noon, Reis will address the crowd from the church (the newer building rather than the old one.) The county judge and a representative from the Kentucky governor’s cabinet will also be in attendance. All present at the day-wide event are encouraged to be in the audience at the church parking lot at that time. A drone flying overhead will film the activities, and literature providing a brief history of Reis’s research of Grant’s Lick will be handed out to the attendees.

(Photos courtesy Ken Reis; click for larger image)

Also on the agenda, there’s an old-fashioned “play ball” time at the Thelma Lee Bray Memorial Ballfield on the grounds of the Grant’s Lick Baptist Church. It’s called “Red Stockings Vintage Baseball Game,” referring to the original all-professional baseball team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings, which was established in 1869, and is scheduled from 12:30 to 2:30.

Throughout the day schedule, exhibits such as an antique tractor, truck, and car show will be available. Along with tours of the school, there will be tours of the “old” Grant’s Lick Baptist Church, the historical Oakland Cemetery, backroads’ locations, and Reis’s own Log Cabin Museum.

Whether or not one has Grant’s Lick connections, it likely will be beneficial for all, asserted Reis. “It’s just a fun day. There’s just a lot of things going on . . . a whole variety. I wanted something going on that kids would remember.”

Parking will be available at the church and at the school, and a limited amount along the road for those who come early to see the revealing of the mural at 9. To assist visitors throughout the day’s activities, Reis said there are “all kinds of volunteers” available from the community. Forty signs corresponding with informational handouts for visitors will be in view along the important sites, making it largely a self-directed tour.

The event is sponsored by the Campbell County Historical and Genealogical Society, and the planners have received grants to allay costs, according to Reis.

For more information on the Grant’s Lick 225th Homecoming Celebration, email Ken Reis at kennethareis@yahoo.com or Linda Bray-Schafer at lbrayschafer@zoomtown.com. An informative video is also available on Facebook.

Steve Flairty is a teacher, public speaker and an author of seven books: a biography of Kentucky Afield host Tim Farmer and six in the Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes series, including a kids’ version. Steve’s “Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes #5,” was released in 2019. Steve is a senior correspondent for Kentucky Monthly, a weekly NKyTribune columnist and a former member of the Kentucky Humanities Council Speakers Bureau. Contact him at sflairty2001@yahoo.com or visit his Facebook page, “Kentucky in Common: Word Sketches in Tribute.” (Steve’s photo by Connie McDonald)

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