“What is now proved, was once only imagined.” – William Blake

a woman smiling for the camera: Tracy Kelly

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Tracy Kelly

Bremen’s Music in the Park series is an achievement seven years in the making. And at its heart is a revitalized Dowling Memorial Park, a mission made possible by the passion of Bremen resident Mary Hoffman.

Located between Main and Marietta Streets in downtown Bremen, the park traces back to 1929, though its grounds, and historic fountain, had fallen into disrepair.

But one night in 2013, after a prayer meeting in the then-lusterless enclosure, Hoffman had a dream of a family-oriented space, complete with a pavilion for her community.

Hoffman spent the next three years pursuing every opportunity to bring her vision to life, eventually disbanding her effort due to lack of funding.

But when one door closes, another opens.

The answer to Hoffman’s prayers appeared when a friend placed her in contact with the Ninety One: One Foundation Fund. Deriving its name from Psalm 91:1, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty,” this charitable foundation invested $100,000 into the Dowling Park Project.

It would still take over a year of inspired work before the final stone was laid. But when the project was complete in September of 2019, Hoffman stood in a fully transformed park, designed in a Tuscan theme, replete with wrought iron seating and carved artwork.

“I was standing in a finished park and it was surreal. God put a park in Bremen,” Hoffman said.

But the park remained silent.

“My heart was to have music in it,“ Hoffman shared – a fitting purpose for a park named in memory of beloved musician Robert W. Dowling.

In the spring, Hoffman began her search for musicians, which met with enthusiastic support from the Bremen community, as well as many local artists.

Hoffman explained, “I thought, I don’t know where the money is going to come from, but there will be music in this park.”

And, once again, Hoffman’s vision has come to pass.

Over 150 people have attended the 2020 Music in the Park series, which has featured musicians such as Mike Sigler & The Nashville North Band, Brandon Wagner, and Whiskey River.

The series will culminate this Sunday, September 27, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., with Doug Fox & The Cedar Hill Bluegrass Boys.

Dowling Memorial Park is located at 107 West Main Street in downtown Bremen.

There is no charge to attend the event, and guests of all ages are welcome.

And while this concert promises to be a night to remember, it serves an even larger purpose – providing a lasting testament to the power of a compassionate heart, even in the most uncertain times.  

Friday, Sept.  25, at 8 a.m. to Saturday, Sept. 26, at 11 p.m., check out The Country Shop Hop. There will be antiques, fresh flowers, wine tasting, glass blowing, furniture, and much more. 17 businesses in Amanda, Stoutsville, and Tarlton will be represented. For more information, including the addresses of participating shops, please visit https://countryshophop.weebly.com/

Saturday, Sept. 26 at 10 a.m. to Sunday, Sept. 27 at 4 p.m., be sure to visit Fall at the Round Barn. Over 140 vendors will bring jewelry, crafts, clothing, home décor, soaps, and handmade items to the Fairfield County Fair Grounds. VIP, two-day, tickets are $10 each, and general admission tickets are $5. Social distancing will be enforced, and masks expected when social distancing is not possible. For tickets and more information, visit www.fallattheroundbarn2020.eventbrite.com or call 614-296-1621.

Saturday, September 26, from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., The Lancaster Farmers Market will offer fall produce, baked goods, beautiful flowers, honey, crafts, herbal products, and other local items. The market is held in the parking lot at West Chestnut Street, between Broad and Columbus, in Lancaster. Visit https://www.lancasterohfarmersmarket.org/ for information.

Saturday, Sept. 26, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., CycleNuts is hosting LoST (Long or Short Trail) at Buckeye Lake. There will be long distance and short distance ride options. Attractions highlighted on the rides include The Japanese Garden at The Dawes Arboretum, North Shore Lake Trail, and T.J. Evans Recreational Trail. Tickets and more information are available on Eventbright.com.

On Tuesday, Sept. 29, don’t miss the Baltimore Farmers Market, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Ace Hardware in Baltimore. Local vendors will offer locally grown produce, fall decorations, baked goods, and crafts. For information, contact [email protected]

Thank you so much for your thoughts and feedback! Please contact me about events at [email protected]!

This article originally appeared on Lancaster Eagle-Gazette: County Connections: Bremen’s Music in the Park part of a labor of love

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