BLOOMSBURG– As they have done for 158 years folks gathered at the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds to meet, greet, and eat. However this was no ordinary occasion, but a celebration of Columbia County’s Bicentennial.
During the Civil War, the fairgrounds were actually home to a military encampment.
Civil War reenactor Eric Stahley says, “In Benton they had a problem during the Civil War. It was called the Columbia County Confederacy, where they had people who were opposed to the war. They brought troops into the fairgrounds and pretty much marched them up 487 and in through Fishing Creek in order to quell the Confederacy up there.”
At Sunday’s event, by taking just a few steps, visitors could travel forward 100 years from the Civil War to World War 2. On display,one of the 15 thousand Stuart Tanks that were built in the Borough of Berwick.
Tom McLaughlin of the Berwick Historical Society says,”These were actually fighting in the war before the United States got involved. These went to Russia, England, Australia, New Zealand.”
One surprising fact, the Columbia County seat wasn’t always Bloomsburg. At the time of the founding, it was actually in Danville.
According to historians, it took decades of debate before the county seat was transfered, during the 1840’s. However, by 1850 Danville was once again a county seat, this time of the newly established Montour County.
Back at the celebration, from agriculture to aluminum, all of the county’s heritage was in the spotlight as everyone enjoyed the big birthday celebration.
David Kovach, chair of the Bicentennial Committee says,”You can just feel the buzz in the air. It’s just a really good day for all of Columbia County.”
Sunday’s activities at the fairgrounds were followed by a parade, also on the schedule, the sealing of a time capsule, and fireworks.