On Sept. 29 a joint 30th birthday party of sorts will be at Park Hall in downtown Ben Lomond for the venerable Valley Churches United Missions, which ministers to the needy in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and the preschool operated by St. Andrews Church.
“That was all of our beginnings,” said VCUM founder Annette Marcum, referring to St. Andrews Church, which served as her organization’s original home when it was founded in 1982.
Beginning at 5 p.m., speakers and a video will commemorate 30 years of the preschool’s goal “to develop our students’ positive self-images, and build strong social and intellectual skills and Christian values,” according to a statement by Sharon Fishel, the school’s director
Marcum said the event would also celebrate St. Andrews Church itself, which has been in Ben Lomond for 112 years.
The second part of the event will honor the 30-year history of VCUM, from its beginnings in 1982, serving community members in need during the disastrous rainstorms, flooding, and mudslides that struck that winter and killed more than a dozen people.
“It was the crisis of the storms of 1982 that started this whole thing,” Marcum said. “It was during that time that I saw there was more need after months of helping these people.”
The event will feature guest speakers and will be highlighted by live music and Marcum presenting a $1,000 contribution toward foundation repair for Park Hall, which has served in the past as a disaster relief staging area for VCUM efforts.
According to Karen Scarborough, who is coordinating the 125th anniversary events, the celebration will screen firsthand video recordings of Valley Churches’ efforts during the 1982 storm, as well as the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989.
“All our history books will be there,” Marcum said. “We’re part of the 125 years of history in Ben Lomond.”
Day in the Park, Night in the Hall
Then, on Oct. 6, the Ben Lomond Firefighters Association will host its Day in the Park, Night in the Hall event.
According to Ben Lomond Fire Protection District Chief Stacie Brownlee, the all-day-and-well-into-the-night shindig is a revival of a similar event hosted in years past by the former Ben Lomond Business Association.
“Years ago, they used to do a day in the park thing — floats in the dam, a barbecue,” Brownlee said.
The funds raised by the event will support current and future firefighters, she said.
“We’re going to possibly buy some new equipment,” Brownlee said. “And we’ve got a couple of scholarship (funds) we’d like to refill.”
The family-friendly event will be at the recently refurbished Ben Lomond Park.
It will feature face-painting and children’s games, as well as games for grown-ups, live music and dancing. The daytime portion of the event will run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and will feature a barbecue.
The evening portion of the event, which begins at 7 p.m. at Park Hall, is for adults 21 and older and will feature live music, dancing and a full bar. The festivities will continue until 1 a.m. the next day.
Brownlee looks forward to the event, and hopes it could lead to an annual gathering.
“We haven’t done an event other than a pancake breakfast for a while,” she said. “It’s just (about) trying to get the community all together.”
At a glance
WHAT: Ben Lomond 125th anniversary celebration
When: 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 29
Where: Park Hall, 9370 Mill St., in Ben Lomond
Details: Historical videos, slides and photos will be on display and a surprise guest is expected during a celebration hosted by St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Ben Lomond Fire Protection District and Valley Churches United Missions.
What: Day in the Park, Night in the Hall
When: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Oct. 6
Where: Ben Lomond Park, 9525 Mill St., and Park Hall, 9400 Mill St., in Ben Lomond
Details: The day will be filled with a barbecue, live music, dancing and events for children, followed by a night of live music and dancing to benefit the Ben Lomond Firefighters association. Evening events are for adults age 21 and older only.
Cost: Daytime events, $10 adults, $5 children; barbecue, $8 adults, $4 children; nighttime events, $10 adults