AFAN opens the year with an evening reception in September.
Monthly luncheons or dinners are held on the second Thursday of each month through May. In addition, there are Special Event trips to interesting places in Ohio on the fourth Thursday of each month.
The heart of AFAN is our Interest Groups where small groups of members meet to share a common interest. Some of our current interest groups include: Antiques & Collectibles, Geneology, Knitting, Book Review, Bridge, Euchre, Hooked on Crochet, Gourmet, Hiking, Needlework, Tongue and Thimble, Pho-tos(Scrapbooking), Quilting, Lunch Bunch, and Women Who WhINE.
During the year new and prospective members are invited to attend our Newcomers' Coffees. This gives us an opportunity to get to know our new members and introduce them to other members.
I am writing this on the first day of spring. This rainy, cold, wintry weather isn’t how I expected spring to be!! Hopefully soon we will have some warmer, drier weather. Thanks to all of you who stuck with us on that snowy March Luncheon morning and came out.
For April and May we are back to evening meetings at The Plains United Methodist Church. I hope you can come on April 12th to enjoy a great meal and hear the performance of “Section 8”, an OU men’s choir. After the performance, the membership will vote on the slate of nominations for 2018-19 leadership of our organization (See p.4).
This month, our Special Event will be a tour of the Little Cities of Black Diamonds. This will be a way for long-time residents as well as newcomers to learn some very interesting local history. Christy Luehrman will need reservations by April 13th to determine per person cost. See page 3 for all the details on the trip. In May, the Special Event trip will head to German Village in Columbus.
On a follow-up note from last month’s message, the board decided they would like to compile a cookbook in celebration of our 50th anniversary coming next year. Start thinking of a recipe to share.
I spent some time at the Southeast Ohio History Center going through AFAN archives to learn when Special Events began and the different types over the years. They have always been popular and well attended. It was the summer of 1969, just after AFAN officially started, when a few events were planned: family picnic, swim party, New Year’s Eve party and a spring dance held in 1970. After the first year, Special Events became more frequent throughout the year. Some early programs were an Open House at OU President Sowle’s home, a casino night, a card & game party night, an ice skating party, a beauty day at Tri-County, and a Christmas Ball. Through the years, there have been factory tours (Krema Nut, Anthony Thomas, Pottery, Stockmeister Mushroom, Washboard Factory, Middleton Doll, Fenton Glass, and Longaberger Baskets). There have been shopping trips to the French Market in Columbus, Parkersburg, WV, Wheeling Factory Outlets and Logan Antiques. Early years included events around the OU campus – tours of the RTV Building, Drama department, and a bus tour of campus. They even went to an OU basketball game! There have also been tours at AmeriFlora and the Columbus Flower Show, as well as museums in Marietta, Gallipolis, and Morgan County. Special Events have been a part of AFAN since nearly the beginning of its existence. They are still going strong now with innovative ideas presented each year.
During the 1987-88 AFAN year, members contributed to creating an AFAN cookbook. It was a collection of recipes from members and collated into a beautiful cookbook. Members sent their favorite recipes to be published.
After learning about this project completed 30 years ago, some have suggested we do this again. The board discussed the idea last week and decided to see if there is interest in doing another cookbook. So far two members have stated that they would help with this proposed project. If you are willing to help with this endeavor, please email or call me. With current technology, it should be easier to get this project off the ground – many hands make light work. Think about it and get in touch.
I mentioned in the November ‘Looking Back’ about fall receptions and interest groups like Tongue and Thimble. I was just at the Southeast History Center, where some of the AFAN records are archived. (Thanks go to Kim Knapp-Brown for volunteering to archive our records there.) After looking over early newsletters and the Special Interest Group notebooks, I’m amazed at the variety of groups AFAN had. Many of the same groups are what we have today, such as, all levels of bridge, Book Review, Tongue & Thimble and Gourmet. Originally, they even had Ceramics with 58 people signed up, painting, slimnastics, horseback riding, bowling and ice skating. This would certainly be great weather for ice skating! Maybe some of you might be interested in getting one of these Interest groups regenerated.
We recently held our Newcomer’s Coffee in October. I did some checking about previous coffees. Early in AFAN’s years, there were many coffees held each year, almost always held at someone’s home. Some were in the daytime while others in the evening. In 1979, I remember receiving a call inviting me to a coffee and if I could attend, a member from AFAN would pick me up. I remember sitting in a circle with lots of other women, talking and enjoying a dessert and coffee. In more recent years, the coffees have been pared down to one or two a year. A few years ago, we held two coffees, one in the daytime in the Fall and one in the evening in the Spring. All newcomers to the group were invited as well as board members (who usually provided food.) The past couple of years, there has been only one Newcomer’s Coffee usually held in the daytime in the Fall. Again, all newcomers were invited. This year we had a lovely luncheon at the Athens Country Club and had five newcomers and five board members present. Things have changed as we welcome new people to town. Most seem to have a very busy schedule and many women work nowadays. Its always nice to welcome in our newcomers to AFAN. I did some research into past FanFair events. I had thought they were a program event offered every other year, but no, they started November 1986 as a craft show and quickly became a yearly tradition. The FanFair was held every year from 1986 to 1996 at The Sportsman (on W. Union St.). The show was held 1997-1999 at the American Legion Hall on W. Union St. and the rest have all been at The Plains United Methodist Church. I could only find four years when other programs were held instead of FanFair; 2000, 2006, 2011, and 2016. The early years (through the 90s) were held at 7:30 or 8:00 pm with desserts and then in the 2000s they started occurring earlier in the evening. The event runs about the same as it was originally set up as; crafts made by AFAN members only and no charge for those vendors to display their items to sell. The ‘funny money’ prizes were first given out in 1999. There were six $5.00 prizes. For many years the members demonstrated how to make a craft at their booth. Some of the early FanFair events at The Sportsman, offered babysitting in another room!
AFAN had its very first Reception on September 11, 1969 at The Sportsman restaurant in Athens. A total of 120 members attended and signed up for 19 interest groups. One of those groups was Tongue and Thimble, which is still an interest group. That group was first chaired by Marilyn Brown (White), who currently resides in Florida. Members met monthly in homes and the co-hostesses provided the food. Members brought their sewing, knitting, or just came to visit. This group currently meets on the third Wednesday of each month from 10-12 am. How amazing that it has been in existence for 49 years!! Everyone is welcome.
The idea for our group began in the summer and fall of 1968 when a few OU faculty wives met with some Athens community members to discuss forming a social group for all women in the community. These six women headed up a steering committee of 14 members. They had no name nor no money, but their desire to start a newcomers group grew. The original name was Athens Friends and Newcomers, which was later changed to Athens Friends and Neighbors.
The main principles of the group were to meet monthly for lunch and have interest groups. When at least two people were interested, it was a group. Yearly dues were $2.00. The first meeting was held in January 1969. Sixty-six women showed up and sixty joined, so they had $120 in their budget. Stay tuned for more to come throughout the year.
The Theme of AFAN since founding –
Coming together is a beginning,
Working together is progress,
Staying together is success.
The Motto of AFAN since founding –
I look upon every day to be lost
in which I do not make a new acquaintance. (Samuel Jackson)
Both of these are so pertinent to AFAN today, even though they were chosen 49 years ago. The group has come, worked, and stayed together for all these years, what a tribute to those founding members.