GRAFTON — There are a lot of exciting things happening in Grafton, and members of All Aboard Grafton (AAG) are inviting you to be a part of it.
On Thursday, the members of the non-profit organization met to discuss future happenings in the area.
The meeting opened with discussion about the recent Gathering in Grafton where residents were encouraged to attend and share ideas for the revitalization of the area.
“We had a fantastic turn out, and there was a lot of enthusiasm at the gathering,” shared Mayor and AAG member Sheila Westfall.
Westfall noted that throughout the brainstorming gathering, talks of how to capitalize on the lake and the possibility of creating a rail trail in Grafton were discussed.
She also said another focal point of the conversation was the B&O Station, as well as the Willard Hotel, the Manos and the Freight Station.
As important pieces of the town’s history, many citizen’s voiced concerns and ideas on what may come of these buildings. However, Westfall explained that progress on the Manos and the Freight Station are at a standstill because the city is currently utilizing those locations for storage of the town’s Christmas decorations.
In reaction to the news, many members of AAG expressed their own concerns and are hoping that the city can locate new storage so these structures can be put to good use and be beneficial to the community.
The group also held dialogue surrounding the up and coming First Friday events in July.
AAG Chairman Tom Hart revealed that Jason Young would be providing some entertainment at Toad Hall, Gallery 62 West will open with a new exhibit; details are forthcoming and the Taylor County Historical and Genealogy Society will continue showing their Industrial School for Boys exhibit.
Following First Fridays in July, Taylor County Fireworks, with the support of the community will light up the night sky on Saturday, July 3 in celebration of Independence Day.
AAG also touched on the coming Meet your Colorful Neighbor event and the Care-A-Van Pride Parade, which are both scheduled to take place later this month in recognition of Pride month and in support of the LGBTQ+ community.
In addition, Westfall disclosed that with the success of Storytime with the Mayor that was seen over the Christmas holiday, that she would like to get that going again, but this time, she is hoping to offer the readings in-person.
“I would like to read Wind in the Willows,” she stated. “It is broken down into 11 chapters and I could read a couple of chapters each Saturday in July, and we are also hoping to incorporate a STEM activity, as well.”
As the meeting wore on, Hart sparked excitement when looking for suggestions about Artstock 2021.
“We are resurrecting Artstock, and are excited to be doing so, however, this year, we are thinking of hosting the event if a different location,” he shared.
He went on to say than in an effort to draw more business and garner exposure to the downtown area that this year, he would like to hold Artstock on Main Street.
The event, which typically takes place at Hartland Lake Marie on a Saturday in September, was a place to celebrate all types of art, while creating your own masterpieces and visiting many local vendors and artisans.
While the event planning is still in the early stages, the helping hands of those involved with All Aboard Grafton where more than willing to share ideas and offer to contribute to making it happen.
The group also discussed hosting Artstock in correlation with August’s First Fridays and the Annual Chalk Walk, hoping to see the downtown area buzzing all weekend long.
It is possible that the event will boast food and crafting vendors, dancing performances, yoga for child and adults alike, live music and activities for the youths.
While still several weeks away, the group will be hard at work to make this event happen for the community and anyone can be a part of the action! In fact, this dedicated and selfless group of individuals is always hard at work for Grafton; promoting the area, hosting events, taking suggestions and pushing to make thing happen.
You can make things happen, too. Join AAG in their efforts, or simply be sure to take part in these events and more, as a way to show your support to both the organization and to the future of Grafton.
All Aboard Grafton meets every Thursday at noon, at Toad Hall and is always excited to welcome new faces, working hands and fresh ideas for the betterment of the community.