Historic seats, outdoor drama to return to Caesar’s Ford Park

Most of the seats that once lined the former “Blue Jacket” amphitheater are in place, and plans are underway to bring outdoor drama back to Caesar’s Ford Park.

Greene County workers are busy with renovating the site where the “Blue Jacket” outdoor drama theater group once performed on weekends.

» PHOTOS See some of the renovations and improvements at Caesar’s Ford Park

Workers have re-installed most of the 1,400 seats, which also used to be the seats in the old Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati. Work continues on renovating the bathrooms and other areas of the structure that were spared during demolition in the fall of 2017.

To pay for the renovation work, Greene County Parks & Trails has spent about $200,000 from tax revenue generated by the levy voters passed in 2015, according to parks Director Jon Dobney.

Caesar’s Ford is the county’s largest park with about 260 acres. It was one of Dobney’s priorities to reopen it after being closed to the public for nearly 11 years.

“The landscape is just beautiful,” Dobney said of the rolling meadows, trails and prairie land in the park, which reopened to the public last summer. “When you pull in there, it’s like you walked away from civilization a little bit.”

The park now features an 18-hole disc golf course, a restored pavilion that survived the 1974 tornado in Xenia, and several trails for hiking and horseback riding.

» RELATED County to open park for one last look at former Blue Jacket theater

Work also continues at the primitive horse camp in the park, Dobney said, which will have electricity and flushing restrooms.

The renovation of the amphitheater is expected to be done before the food trucks arrive for the second Caesar’s Ford Summer Fest, set for June 1.

In September, the Caesar’s Ford Theatre, which formed following the bankruptcy of the Blue Jacket theater group, is planning to host a Playwright Festival, in which the public will be invited for a reading of submitted plays that tell a tale from Ohio history.

Tim Haney, president and treasurer of the theater group, said they have received 17 submissions so far and they will accept submissions from Ohio writers until May 22.

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“We were all so sad when the theater had to shut down,” Haney said of the former Blue Jacket group. “Greene County has a tradition of outdoor theater. Back in the ’50s and ’60s, Antioch College every year had Shakespeare Under the Stars.”

If you are interested in submitting a play, scripts can be e-mailed to info@caesarsford.com or mailed to Caesar’s Ford Theatre Inc., PO Box C, Xenia, OH 45385-0692.

The free-to-attend summer fest in June will feature a car show, live music and fireworks. For more information, call Greene County Parks & Trails at 937-562-6440, email info@gcparkstrails.com or visit www.gcparkstrails.com.


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