Longtime Greenfield public servant Gene Coleman will serve as parade grand marshal and auction items are still needed for the annual Greene Countrie Towne Festival this Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Greenfield.
Coleman was a Greenfield police officer for 29 years before retiring in 1984. A longtime resident of the village, Coleman was the first African-American officer on the Greenfield Police Department and is also believed to be the first African-American to be a deputy with the Highland County Sheriff’s Department, according to Ron Coffey, a member of the Greenfield Rotary Club that sponsors the festival.
In addition to his law enforcement experience, Coleman spent many years coaching youth league baseball and basketball teams. He and his twin brother, the late Glenn Coleman, were both active in coaching for many years.
“Mr. Coleman said he was honored to be selected as grand marshal and looks forward to participating in the parade,” Coffey said.
The parade begins at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Rotary members said Monday that they are still running short on items being donated for the festival annual auction that this year runs from 1-3 p.m. Saturday.
“The proceeds go into the Greenfield Rotary Club’s coffers to help maintain the Ralph W. Phillips Recreation and Civic Center and finance other worthwhile projects in the community,” the club said on its Facebook page.
Anyone that would like to donate can drop items off at the Letter Shop or the Fifth Third Bank in Greenfield.
For more than 93 years the Rotarians of the Rotary Club of Greenfield, Ohio has donated more than 500,000 hours of their time and raised millions of dollars in support of all of the projects the Rotary Club undertakes. The result of this effort on the part of the Rotarians and generous businesses and community members has allowed the Rotary Club to undertake various community-oriented projects, the club said on its website, including:
• Purchasing and maintaining the Ralph Phillips Recreation and Civic Center which houses the Highland County Community Action Greenfield Head Start program on the first floor. The second floor is available for various community activities.
• Organizing the festival on the third weekend of every July, promoting community involvement through various activities over the weekend.
• The Needy Kids Program which provides food, clothing, and toys to over 400 children in the community for the holidays and throughout the year.
• Purchasing and distributing dictionaries to every third-grader and thesauruses to every fifth-grader in the Greenfield Exempted School District each year.
• Running the Greenfield Rotary portion of Highland County Society for Children and Adults Telethon.
• The Rotary 4-Way Test Speech Contest, which provides a scholarship to the winner annually.
A staple of the auction is the sale of 10 limited edition prints created by local artist Tammy Wells. This year’s print will feature the Elliott Hotel during its time as a premier hotel in Greenfield.
The 130-year-old building has been undergoing rejuvenation and will soon see renovation under the ownership of McClain High School graduate Doug Karnes, who will be offering tours of the building during the festival.
Greenfield Rotarians not only decided to feature the building in the print, but to have Wells create an 11th print, with the proceeds of its sale going toward Karnes’ renovation efforts at the Elliott Hotel.
For more information on the auction or how to donate items, call Chuck Miller at 937-760-2898, Andrew Surritt at 740-572-6737, or Angela Shepherd at 937-763-3674.
One of the highlights of this year’s festival will be a performance at 8 p.m. Saturday by brothers and Greenfield area natives Gary, Don and Darrell Adams. They will be joined on stage by Greenfield’s Steve Marple on drums, Dean Inboden on guitar, Doug Jerningan of Nashville on steel guitar, Eli Bishop of Nashville on the fiddle, and Billy Dingess of Logan, W.Va. on piano.
The Adams boys played with country legends through the years like Greenfield’s own Johnny Paycheck, George Jones, Marty Robbins, Ray Price, Porter Wagoner, Faron Young and Merle Haggard, among others.
The ensemble is known as The Adams Brothers and the Greenfield Express, and the show is something Gary Adams called “the last roundup.” He said while they have performed a couple benefit concerts, “it has been decades since we’ve approached it like this.”
The original band for Paycheck, Gary Adams said, were himself, brother Don, Jernigan, and Marple. Gary said that back in those days they got to back up a lot of artists because so few had their own bands.
Gary Adams said he played back up for Patsy Cline in her last performance just two days before her death.
After playing until around 10 p.m., Gary Adams said the group will take a short break and then return to the stage for an hour or so when special guests will be invited to join them. Adams said he’s hoping for fiddle hoedowns and line dancing in the streets.
More information about the Greene Countrie Towne Festival can be found at the Greenfield Rotary Club’s website, www.greenfieldrotary.org.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.