Maplesville Heritage Day to open with first 5K

Published 3:35 pm Monday, April 1, 2013

People look at vintage cars on display at Maplesville's Heritage Day last year.

People look at vintage cars on display at Maplesville’s Heritage Day last year.

History will come alive, families will congregate and old friends will reconnect April 13 at the town of Maplesville’s annual street festival known as Heritage Day.

Most significantly, a new addition to the event this year will have people moving miles beyond the barricades set up around Main Street for the sake of the town’s historic Foshee house.

The first Heritage Day 5K Walk/Run will serve as a fundraiser for the preservation of the house – one of the area’s oldest homes still standing and the former site of the Bitternut Hickory tree that the Alabama Forestry Commission named the Alabama Champion tree of its species before a tornado took it down in January 2012.

The Maplesville Historical Society has spearheaded preservation efforts for the Foshee house since former owner Ovid Merchant turned it over to the town last March along with a $10,000 check from his insurance money.

Historical society member Clem Clapp said Merchant’s check would be spent on emergency roof repairs to prevent the interior of the house from being exposed to the elements and thus damaged.

Aside from private donations from local residents or businesses and money from a recent fundraiser in which the historical society sold chances to win a deep sea fishing trip, covering the cost of all necessary repairs has fallen on the shoulders of historical society members.

“We’re about halfway through getting the roof fixed and have done a lot out of our pockets,” historical society member Clem Clapp said. “I think we need about $7,000 to get the complete roof finished.”

The group is hoping the 5K will drum up a large amount of money needed to complete major roof and structural repairs.

“We don’t have any sources of revenue, and the town doesn’t have any excess funds to put toward it,” Clapp said. “Nobody wants to see the house go down. We have so few structures in our historic district. This structure is important because of the early connection with Maplesville residents.”

The 5K will start from the railroad depot at 8 a.m., one hour before Heritage Day festivities begin.

Race participants will make a 3.1-mile loop from the depot to Maplesville High School and back.

Water will be supplied at one-mile increments.

Age groups are 10 and under, 11–14, 15–18, 19–24, 25–29, 30–39, 40–49, 50–59 and 60 and over.

Registration is $30 for adults and $20 for participants under age 15 on the day of the race.

T-shirts are available while supplies last for those who register the day of the race, between 6:30–7:30 a.m.

Heritage Day will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is free to attend.

Local historian Wayne Arnold will display artifacts he has collected and talk to visitors about the War between the States and specifically the Battle of Ebenezer Church in which militiamen moved through Maplesville and Stanton on their way to the arsenal in Selma.

Maplesville’s history will also be on display at the depot in the form of a pictorial exhibit, including photographs, drawings and documents on the wall.

A quilt show will be held in the town library, and Julia Chastain will provide live music entertainment under the canopy next to the depot.

A “food court” with various vendors will be set up in the parking lot across from the library on Main Street.

Other vendors will line the sidewalks to sell items including art, plants, books, clothes, accessories and more.

The fee for food vendors is $50. All other vendors must pay $25 to set up a booth.

Anyone interested in being a vendor should contact Town Clerk Sheila Haigler at (334) 366-4212 for an application.

“Last year, we had between 50 and 60 (vendors),” Clapp said. “It would be nice if we could have that many this year. We have plenty of room.”