Though I’m not a Piqua resident, I have the unique privilege of being involved in many great Piqua activities. Even though I know what’s happing most of the time in town, I hear a lot of people say they didn’t know about various events. I know that marketing the events in town is a challenge that many organizations have difficulty with, but I wanted to take a minute to talk about the various organizations and individuals that work so hard to make Piqua a better place to live and visit.
By now, I hope every resident in the city is aware of the efforts by Mainstreet Piqua. This organization is continuously providing fun, family friendly events to downtown. They are involved in Bikefest, Rock Piqua!, Active Piqua Cyclovia, Down the River, Down a Beer and myriad other events, in addition to being the only entity behind the Chocolate Walk, Moonlight Stride and Ride, Taste of the Arts, Groovy Gourd and Christmas on the Green. I’m sure I’ve even missed a few events.
Mainstreet Piqua and Piqua Arts Council work very closely together for many of their programs, but in addition to partnering with other organizations for events, the Piqua Arts Council also provides the community with Dancing with the Piqua Stars, mural programs for kids, professional workshops for artists, and the regions largest art exhibit. Piqua Arts Council’s Annual Art Exhibit is in its 23rd year and features some of the top talent in the state of Ohio, not just Piqua.
These two organizations certainly aren’t the only groups in town putting effort into making Piqua a positive place to live. Positively Promoting Piqua is an organization of concerned citizens that only want to help make citizens aware of issues that could have a positive impact on the community. Citizens for a Better Piqua is another group of individuals that are out in the community trying to enhance the quality of life of the community.
These organizations are great and vital to the growth of Piqua, but it’s the citizens themselves that amaze me. Take a second to look at Ryan and Amanda King. Yes, they opened a store in downtown Piqua and yes, they benefit from the running culture they’re creating. No one does what they do just for the monetary benefits, because believe me, its just not that great. No, Ryan and Amanda are providing opportunities for people to band together and share their love of running because they believe its fundamental to the expansion Piqua is primed for.
Let’s not stop with just the runners and let’s take a minute to mention the beer drinkers, too, because as evidence from Down the River, Down a Beer would suggest, there are a few of them in town, too. Over 200 people attended the second annual Down the River, Down a Beer event this year and with 80 beers to choose from, they definitely had their fill. But the entire event was staffed by Piqua volunteers and the genesis of the event started with Jim and Cheryl Burkhardt. They were the driving force making the event happen. They organized the committee, chose the beers, arranged all the details and even lined up the sponsorships; two regular citizens, for the betterment of the community.
Many of you may not have attended Active Piqua Cyclovia on Saturday, Sept. 26, maybe you came out for the Moonlight Stride and Ride that night or the Glow Run, but I am certain more of you are aware of the fireworks that followed. What many people don’t know is that none of the organizations previously mentioned, paid for those fireworks. Mainstreet Piqua, Piqua Arts Council, Positively Promoting Piqua, none of them paid for the fireworks that lit up the night sky. No, a group of Piqua residents banded together and paid for the fireworks. With the help of the city of Piqua, they were able to execute the fireworks to cap off a night of family friendly activities in the city. What more do you want? This community is a strong community. Piqua has its problems, just like every city, but it has beacons of hope that many others don’t. Bright shining examples of the types of citizens it takes to cultivate change in the community.
Do you want to be one of those people? Do you want to show people you care about the place you call home? It is not a complicated process. All you have to do is get involved. All of the organizations mentioned can use more volunteers, more committee members and new board members. They welcome new ideas and outside the box thinking. They want you to believe that you can make a change in the community, so look up their phone number, talk a walk downtown and stop in their offices or stores, and open your life up to new experiences and see your community in a way that this outsider has been honored to be a part of.
Jordan Knepper is executive director of the Piqua Arts Council. He can be reached at (937) 773-9630.