Cloverdale Princess and Prince, Olivia Hale (left) and Logan Winke, threw candy to the crowd during the Cloverdale Community Club Carnival Parade. (Putnam Sentinel/Becky Leader)
Cloverdale Princess and Prince, Olivia Hale (left) and Logan Winke, threw candy to the crowd during the Cloverdale Community Club Carnival Parade. (Putnam Sentinel/Becky Leader)

CLOVERDALE — There’s no place like home. The theme of the 50th Cloverdale Community Club Carnival, “The Wizard of Oz,” was certainly evident during its celebration on Saturday at the village.

The club, which is a private operation, was extensively damaged last November as a result of an EF-2 tornado. The century-old building has been rebuilt and improved; the carnival proceeds this year helped to defray the cost of the project.

“Today was all about rebuilding the Community Club,” Cloverdale Mayor Judd Spencer related. “We modernized it, and are purchasing new chairs and tables. We want to make it more appealing.”

Every day, someone has volunteered time and talents to work on the building, according to Community Club President Loretta Densmore. “Steve Peters has been working day and night for a month, volunteering his time, to get the building ready for the festival,” she said.

Densmore and her committee began planning the carnival in January. Activities this year included: a 50/50 raffle, a silent auction, a dunk tank, a children’s bounce castle and games, and food. Densmore assembled a history of the carnival, which was displayed at the front of the Community Club.

The highlight of the event was the parade. Many of the 62 parade participants were recognized for their assistance after the tornado, including neighboring volunteer fire and rescue departments, the Putnam County Chapter of the Red Cross, and the Ottoville Mothers’ Club, which worked with the Cloverdale Task Force to raise $16,543.13 for the village.

The Ottoville High School “Big Green Pride” marching band and the Continental High School marching band provided musical entertainment during the parade.

A poignant moment occurred during the parade when the “Honorary Citizen of the Year” was recognized. Drew Altenburger, who recently passed away, was posthumously given the award. Mayor Spencer stopped the parade and read an emotional tribute to the young man.

“Drew called this his Cloverdale,” the mayor recalled. “It was ‘My town,’ ‘My church.’ He told me, ‘We’re gonna rebuild this.’ (after the derecho and the tornado). No one was more sincere and compassionate about Cloverdale.

When the storms came blowing through, so did Drew. He would ask me, ‘Juddy, what’s next?’

He took on the battle of the church (St. Barbara’s). He meticulously dissected the church to recover artifacts. He took so much pride in it,” Spencer told the audience.

The village presented two large posters of Drew that had been created to commemorate the award. Drew’s father, Jim, accepted the honor.

The 2014 Prince and Princess, Logan Winke and Olivia Hale were crowned in a ceremony at 6 p.m. They, along with their court, raised $1,749 in ticket sales.

Later in the evening, The Duces Wild band entertained the carnival-goers.

“We are small but mighty,” Spencer stated. “That’s our motto. We want to keep our community thriving and healthy.”