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Historic Zoar Village's German Maifest will celebrate the spring season on Saturday, May 20 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. This new, free event also commemorates Zoar's Bicentennial, which runs throughout 2017.
Grand Opening Bimeler House and Art Gallery
The main feature of Maifest is the grand re-opening of Bimeler House, which was severely damaged by flooding in 2005 and 2008. Restoration efforts began in 2012 and included raising the 1868 home off its foundation in order to rebuild the sandstone cellar according to its original design. Excavation around the worksite uncovered more than 730 artifacts, many of which are now on display in the Zoar museum collection.
The restored Bimeler House also features an art gallery with works from the Cleveland School of Artists, including August Biehle, George Adomeit, Ora Coltman and Frederick Gottwald. Zoar's architecture and village scenes were popular subjects for these artists in the late 19th century. Additional gallery exhibits include examples of local Zoar decorative arts from the 1800s.
The grand opening will be held at 10 a.m. in front of the Bimeler House and Art Gallery located at 198 West 3rd St., Zoar.
National Historic Landmark Dedication
Historic Zoar Village was named a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior last fall, and is one of only 73 Ohio sites to earn this distinction. Visitors are welcome to help celebrate at a plaque dedication ceremony scheduled for 9 a.m. in front of the Number One House located at 292 Main St., Zoar.
Two Featured Maifest Guest Speakers
Dr. Marianne Wekeck, a history professor at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis, will speak about 19th century transatlantic travel and how Zoar's Society of Separatists would have experienced sailing from the German States to America. The presentation begins at 11 a.m. in the Zoar United Church of Christ, and is made possible in part by a grant from the Ohio Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
At 2 p.m., Dr. Lawrence Waldman, a professor at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., will do a walk-through of the Bimeler Art Gallery, talk about the featured artwork, and explain how they are connected with Zoar's history and influence in various art movements.
Additional Maifest activities include: German food and drink; games and a traditional Maypole; make-and-take art projects; plant sale in the garden; and museum tours and demonstrations by costumed historical interpreters.
Local residents and Zoar descendants are encouraged to bring historical Zoar photos, which will be scanned and used in future exhibits. Look for the photo tent.
Maifest is open to the public and free for all visitors on May 20 only. This event is located at 198 Main St., Zoar. For more information visit www.historiczoarvillage.com or call 330-874-3011.
About Historic Zoar Village
Historic Zoar Village was founded by German Separatists in 1817 and thrived as a communal settlement for more than 80 years. Zoar's historic district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was named a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 2016. Dozens of village structures have been painstakingly preserved through the collaborative efforts of the Zoar Community Association and the Ohio History Connection.