Merchants of Olde West Chester to host Founder’s Day Walk

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Olde West Chester merchants will host the second Founder’s Day Walk from 2 to 6 p.m. on Saturday.

The walk, held mainly outdoors, along the street, will include food trucks and a beer tent, family games and activities, a local craft fair with more than 20 vendors, rides and inflatables, axe throwing, a dunk tank, complimentary trolley rides with eight stops along the walk and a chili cook-off fundraiser.

Olde West Chester business owner Bill Lendl said merchants began the West Chester bicentennial celebration last year with the first Founder’s Day Walk, which featured the grand opening of the History Center.

He said the theme of this year’s Founder’s Day Walk is “Remembering Our Past … Celebrating Our Future.”

“We are one of the very best places to raise a family in the country as Fortune Magazine says. So, as we go toward the future, we can look to the past and recognize where we’ve been,” Lendl said.

He noted two eateries having grand openings around the event: Coterie Lounge & Cafe and Ameristop Food Mart has brought back their breakfast and lunch offerings.

Lendl said, “What I really like is all the participation from the people in Olde West Chester. There are over 100 small businesses in Olde West Chester, and a lot of them are participating.”

The event on Cincinnati-Dayton Road closes out the bicentennial year.

Lendl said the Founder’s Day Walk will feature 15 points of interest along the mile-long strip, each with a passport stamp. Family friendly activities will include an arcade, an art room, kite making, an axe throwing competition, rustic picture frame making, sand art necklaces, kid’s games, tinsel hair braiding, a caricaturist, bouncy houses, a craft fair, coloring, trivia, a dunk tank, historical displays, a First Responders Chili Cookoff, a blacksmith demo and music.

“Each participating business decided what they were going to do, and they came up with their own creative ideas for something that would be good for the community,” Lendl said.

Guests can obtain a passport and get it stamped at points throughout the walk to win prizes. Participants can start and stop anywhere along the route of the walk. Parking for the event is available at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, New Life Chapel and West Chester Fire Department.

Lynda O’Connor, founding president of C3, said first responders from Liberty and West Chester Fire Departments will compete in the First Responders Chili Cookoff Fundraiser.

The cookoff is a ticketed event with prices for adults $15 and children 12 and under $5. Community members will decide which department makes the “best chili,” and can take home a bowl of chili that is handmade by Lakota youth. Proceeds from the fundraiser will support local hunger programs. The event location is at the West Chester Fire Department, 9119 Cincinnati-Dayton Road.

“It’s a lot of fun,” said O’Connor.

C3, Caring Community Collaborative, is a local nonprofit that is partnering with the firefighters to put on the cookoff. The funds raised will support local hunger programs and raise awareness of needs within the community.

Last year was the first time the fundraiser was held at the fire station as part of the Founder’s Day Walk.

“The firefighters have a good time being competitive with each other,” O’Connor said.

There will be a People’s Choice Award, and the award will be presented by Chef Tyler Simpson. Skyline is a sponsor of the event and Skyline hot dogs will be available. The First Responders Chili Cookoff Fundraiser is one of the 15 points of interest on the walk and it’s included on the event passport.

West Chester Township, or Union Township as it was previously known, was separated from Liberty Township by action of the Butler County Commissioners on June 2, 1823. Founders’ Day in West Chester is celebrated on June 2. For more information about West Chester’s history, go to West Chester commemorated its bicentennial anniversary in 2023.

“We always want to do a recognition of Founder’s Day, and this year, it’s going to be in the celebration of Olde West Chester with the Founder’s Day Walk on June 1,” said Barb Wilson, spokesperson for West Chester Township.

She said, “Our community was founded on June 2, 1823, so it’s great to be able to have a festival that coincides with that celebration.”

How to go

What: Founder’s Day Walk

When: Saturday, June 1, 2 to 6 p.m.

Where: Olde West Chester, Cincinnati-Dayton Road, south of Interstate 75

Admission: Free. Items will be available for purchase

More info.: Connect with Olde West Chester Merchants on Facebook at

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