The festival was actually conceived by longtime resident and educator Dan Brisker one day while he was jogging the streets of the village. His idea was to have a festival heavy on patriotism and hometown touches with the main theme being a profuse display of American flags. With the Oak Hill Athletic Boosters already conducting a major 4th of July Celebration, it was decided to slot the Festival of Flags on Memorial Day weekend.

A secondary aim was the effort to preserve the vacant Central Elementary School building and some festival events were actually held in that building. As it turned out, nothing could save old Central from the wrecking ball that came later, but there was some compensation when that site later became another jewel of the community -- Central Memorial Park.

Those early founders not only conceived and organized the Festival of Flags, but their brainpower and worker-bee mentality supplied both the necessary inspiration and perspiration to make the festival happen each year in those critical formative years. Their unwavering commitment, resolve, smarts, and love of community was something to behold and gave the community a precious gift that keeps giving every year in the form of an enjoyable hometown festival.

In addition to Brisker, three other important founders were the resolute Peg Thomas, the community-loving Mildred Bangert, congenial Ray Thomas, and the tireless volunteer Marsha McCorkle. Peg could and would do anything to make the festival work and it was she who eventually took over the leadership role from Brisker. Her husband, Jack, was often at her side and organized a Pancake Breakfast which became one of the festival’s annual events. Bangert, the retired school teacher, couldn’t save her beloved Central School, but she kept working hard for the festival. As I recall, Ray Thomas took a leadership role promoting the sale and display of flags and also organized the car show.

Another driver of the festival’s early success were almost annual performances by the popular oldies band, Phil Dirt and the Dozers. In later years, Elvis tribute artist, Dwight Icenhower, was a popular attraction. Festival organizers have always sought to book as much live entertainment as possible to draw crowds on Saturday and Sunday evenings.

It certainly didn’t happen overnight, but now a new generation of community leaders and volunteers have stepped up to more than adequately fill the shoes of Brisker and Co. and they are already proving they have what it takes to get the job done, and my guess is that most of them are in it for the long haul.

Joyce McClurg is a smart, savvy and get-it-done president who has the respect and support of the community because of her leadership abilities and her selfless record of service. Other committee members are Brian Moore, Jennifer Hughes, Charles Crabtree, Connie Mercer, and the husband/wife duos of Chris and Felicia Walls, Mike and Debbie Queen and Scott and Autumn Perkins.

Many of those persons already have impressive track records of community service through other organizations, activities and projects. They all bring certain talents, skills and connections to the committee. Moore has financial and fundraising experience. Hughes is a former newspaper editor and does a great job with publicity and social-media promotion. Walls has extensive experience in law enforcement, government and event organizing. Crabtree has worked to make the royalty program more special. And that’s just what I know about.

However, the more important bottom line is that they work well together for a common purpose -- to make the Festival of Flags the best it can be. They work very hard not only to conduct, organize and plan the festival, but also to raise the money to help fund it. They have maintained some important festival traditions without being afraid to try new things and do other things differently.

Another Festival of Flags is in the books for the committee members; the only thing left to do is for the rest of us to thank them.

That’s About It… Be Seeing You.