Looking at Champaign County, Ohio, from the Outside In

I began blogging here on Champaign Uncorked!—less than a month ago—knowing there’s much to celebrate about life in Champaign County, Ohio.

Hoopla Parade, Urbana, Ohio

Backed by the Urbana High School Marching Band in the Hoopla Parade Saturday, we celebrated Urbana being named Best Hometown by Ohio Magazine.

This belief has since been confirmed on several occasions. The most public confirmation is Ohio Magazine’s selection of Urbana as Best Hometown for the southwest Ohio region. Urbana will be featured in the cover story of the magazine’s November issue. Thousands will be introduced to the life we enjoy here—and will be enticed to discover it for themselves.

The Champaign County Farmers’ Market has been named one of the four best farmers’ markets in the country in a contest sponsored by the American Farmland Trust. This award will be presented at the market on Saturday, October 9. (For those of you who haven’t discovered this local gem: the market is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday, May through October, at East Market and Locust streets in downtown Urbana.)

Simon Kenton Pathfinders' bike ride in Urbana, Ohio

Two bicyclists in the Ruth I. Bentley Memorial Ride pass by the caboose at the Urbana Station Depot.

This weekend the county bustled with activity, at Pony Wagon Days in St. Paris, the Covered Bridge Festival in North Lewisburg, the Hoopla Parade and Chili Cook-off in Urbana, the Mid-Eastern Regional Fly-in at Grimes Field, and the Simon Kenton Pathfinders’ Ruth I. Bentley Memorial Bike Ride on the bike path and county roads.

The bike ride, which raised money for the northward extension of the Simon Kenton Trail, attracted people from across the state, about 210 total, including one woman who came by herself from Cleveland.

It was the biggest turnout yet for the annual event. But I was really impressed by what I discovered after the ride as we packed up at the Urbana Station Depot. Bicyclists, who weren’t in the ride, kept entering the Depot Coffee House. Some wanted to know what they’d missed, and I filled them in.

One bicyclist from Springfield said she typically rides south to Yellow Springs and Xenia, but Sunday just decided to point her bike north. And she felt rewarded by the inviting atmosphere of the restored depot and the Depot Coffee House. She plans to pedal back here, though she added that she’s often come by car to Urbana’s downtown shops and restaurants.

A couple of bicyclists from Columbus, sitting out on the patio, also were impressed. I guided them to the depot’s brochure rack, which included a downtown shopping and dining guide and promotions of events like this coming weekend’s Champaign County Barn Quilt Tour and Ohio Fish and Shrimp Festival.

Champaign County, Ohio, does have a lot to offer. If you need confirmation of that, just ask someone who’s visiting. (And if you’ve pondered the value of the bike trail to our community, just hang out at the depot.)

What do you like most about living in — or visiting — Champaign County?


  1. I think I read somewhere that if you donated to the bike path, someone was matching the money. Is this still happening? How do I donate? I’d love to see the path go north through West Liberty!

  2. Gary Schenkel says:

    Roberta, you’re ahead of me … I plan to post on the match you’re referring to. The match will be in effect through June 1, 2011. Thanks! Stay tuned.


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