'Tis the season to celebrate with Worthington Memory

The chill in the air signals it's time to haul out the holiday decorations, toss the football and enjoy a cup of hot cider. Bundle up for this month's exhibit, which observes the turning of the seasons in Worthington.

Few things indicate "autumn" in central Ohio more than a good football game. Things were not much different 90 years ago, when the November 28, 1929 "Worthington News" reported on a Thanksgiving Day match between the current high school football team and a group of Worthington graduates. Calling it a "Battle Royal," the article explains the event will provide "more amusement than ever before due to the fastness and craftiness of the high school eleven in comparison to the heavy, driving squad which the alumni will have. It should be a test as to which is best, weight or speed."

For those wondering about the outcome of the game, the following week's paper reports the alumni won, 13-0. The alumni "played a bang-up game all the way through and not once was the high school within scoring distance," explained the December 5, 1929 article. "Both teams played a hard game but the icy condition of the field and the weight advantage of the alumni made it impossible for the high school to score."

Hopefully both teams were able to warm up afterward with a good, hot beverage. They might have visited one of the local orchards for some delicious, fresh-pressed cider. The Brown Fruit Farm was one such orchard. Located north of Worthington off state Route 23 in the present-day Olentangy High Bluffs neighborhood, the farm encompassed 100 acres and operated from around 1912 to 1952. Among the many fruits and fruit products the farm sold, including apples, cherries and plums, the farm pressed apple cider daily October through December.

Decorating is also a seasonal tradition here. The City of Worthington decorates its downtown area each year from mid-November to January, in a custom going back through the 20th century. In earlier decades, the effort was led by the Worthington Business Men's Association. As the December 6, 1945 issue of the "Worthington News" proclaims, "Local Business Men's Association Resumes Meetings: Organization Makes Arrangements To Put Up Christmas Decorations And Offers Prizes For Three Best Store Windows Or Store Fronts."

The article goes on to explain: "As a result of a meeting and dinner held at the Worthington Inn Tuesday evening by the Worthington Business Men's Association, regular meetings, partially discontinued for the past several months due to the war, will now be continued, with the Organization holding evening meetings on the second Tuesday of each month."

The chief topic of discussion for the evening was the Christmas decorations on High Street, which the association supplied by hanging Christmas lights and decorating the light poles in the business district. The group voted unanimously to continue the tradition, with J.H. Talady stating he had the wires, but a few more bulbs would be needed. But the association didn't stop there; according to the article, "Howard Potter suggested that in order to put a little more Christmas spirit in the Decorations program, and in order to show the returning soldier boys that the old town is as good as they left it, that a first, second and third prize be offered for the 3 best Christmas window or store front decorations. This idea also met with general approval, and 4 of the business men subscribed $40 for the prize money."

The night's meeting was notable for another reason: "Gerard Lord of the Willcox 5c to $1.00 Store suggested that since there are now 5 women engaged in business here, and that since they are members, the name be changed to The Worthington Business Association.” Along with the votes on Christmas decorations, this motion passed unanimously.