DENNISON - This October the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum invites everyone for a trip back to Dreamsville to celebrate the sixth annual American Soldiers Homecoming Festival. Go back in time to the home front, to a destination once known as Dreamsville, USA, as we celebrate, remember and honor veterans, current servicemen and women. On Saturday, Oct. 20 and Sunday, Oct. 21, the 1940s will come back to life with troop train rides, USO shows, big band music and dance, WWII reenactors, ticker tape parade and more!
This event was created to remember Dennison's role during World War II when the Dennison Servicemen's Canteen served 1.5 million soldiers and earned the nickname "Dreamsville USA" from the troops. Today, veterans from all over the country - those who remain of the 1.5 million served at the Dennison Servicemen's Canteen and their families - will make a pilgrimage back to one of the few remaining sites in the country that still symbolizes our nation's heroic effort on the homefront. Veterans and volunteers will come face-to-face once again to celebrate and remember how important these efforts were to the soldiers' morale and to the war.
This year's event is a very special occasion as the Depot celebrates becoming a recent National Historic Landmark for being the best example left in the entire country of a WWII Canteen. The Depot is Ohio's 70th National Landmark, and Tuscarawas County's very first National Historic Landmark.
Patrons line up at the old Dennison Canteen. Visitors can once again take a ride on the train for a trip back in time to Dreamsville, USA as the 1940s come back to life with train ride, USO shows, big band music and dance, WWII reenactors, ticker tape parade and more on Saturday, Oct. 20 and Sunday, Oct. 21.
This two-day event will be filled with memories, history and activities. Veterans and active military families will be recognized with a "Hero's Package" that includes free admission to the museum and battlefield. Everyone can enjoy living history with characters from the 1940s, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, the trackside Canteen, and reenactors and battlefield displays. A ticker tape parade and opening ceremony will kick-off the festivities Saturday morning, and the day will culminate with a moving candlelight ceremony held on Saturday evening. Entertainment will cover all the excitement of the 1940s such as Big Band music, USO Show, and a great line-up of musical talent throughout the festival.
Great family fun can be found in the 1940s Kiddie Carnival where there will be a variety of 1940s games and contests. Stop at the Tuscarawas County Public Library booth where kids can get a 1940s themed photo, and Claymont Libraries will present story times with 1940s books. Kids can have fun in the 1940s beauty parlor, candy store or movie theater. Private Bulldog Bing, Dennison's WWI mascot, will also be on site to visit with the kids.
Take time to visit the historic Dennison Depot where the Canteen originally operated. Tour the beautifully restored 1873 Train Depot with attached railroad cars, including the rare WWII Hospital Car, Children's Interactive Experience Car, Feature Exhibit Car, and Local History Car.
New this year, the festival will host five train fall foliage train excursions. On Saturdays, 1940s Troop Train Rides will run at 11 a.m. and 1, 3 and 5 p.m. On Sunday, an all-day fall foliage excursion with a Civil War theme will run from Dennison to Roscoe Village near Coshocton for their Apple Butter Stirin' Festival. Living History characters in theme will be on all trips to visit with families.
All entertainment, vendors, and activities outside the Depot are free to the public. Battle passes are available that include admission for the American Soldiers Homecoming Festival battlefield displays and museum is only $10 for adults and free to our Nation's veterans and current military families. Train trip tickets are an additional cost starting at $20 for adults for the Saturday Troop Train Ride and starting at $75 for adults for the Sunday Civil War Express to Roscoe Village. Battle pass and train ticket information is available at the Depot by calling 877-278-8020 or going online at www.dennisondepot.org. Train rides are made possible through the generous support of Ohio Central Railroad Systems.
All tickets can be purchased individually or can be purchased as a "Rails, Tales and Battle Trails" package which includes all events and train rides, PLUS admission into Historic Schoenbrunn Village's Colonial Trade Fair in New Philadelphia, also taking place Oct. 20 and 21.
Dennison was located in 1864 exactly halfway between Pittsburgh and Columbus, 100 miles from each city for railroad purposes. Today, it sits in Northeast Ohio, in Tuscarawas County. It is 15 minutes southeast of New Philadelphia, about 20 minutes from Amish Country. t is located where State Routes 250, 800 and 36 converge, 18 miles east of I-77 and 36 miles north of I-70. It is two hours east of Columbus, and 1 and 1/2 hours west of Pittsburgh.
For additional information, contact the Dennison Depot at 740-922-6776, toll free 1-877-278-8020, P.O. Box 11, 400 Center Street, Dennison, OH 44621 or www.dennisondepot.org.