|Area women's clubs' 119th Lakeside convention to be the last|
|Written by KAREN NADLER COTA, Sentinel Lifestyles Editor|
|Wednesday, 19 June 2013 09:25|
It's painful to think of a 100-year-plus tradition ending, but that's about to be the case.
The Lakeside Federation of Women's Clubs, a venerable organization that has brought together members of clubs from one side of the state to the other since before the Wright Brothers' first flight or the sinking of the Titanic, is about to host its last-ever annual convention.
The federation's 119th yearly convention will be held July 10 at its traditional home, Lakeside.
The women have been meeting annually since 1894 to hear speakers of interest and to exchange information.
"When it started it would take the whole auditorium at Lakeside to fit everybody inside," recalls 87-year-old Lois Wozniak of Pemberville, who is handling the publicity for this farewell "performance."
"And then it went to the theater, and then to the hotel, which is a smaller space still," and finally in recent years everyone can fit into a single room at Green Gables, historic home of the Lakeside Women's Club.
The federation is currently made up of women's clubs located in northwest Ohio.
Clubs in Wood County that belong to the federation are the Women's Club of Bowling Green and the Pemberville Mental Culture Club. Wozniak belongs to the latter.
"Attendance is down, probably to 12 clubs," with the farthest located near Tiffin, said Wozniak.
But in its heyday, the federation included dozens of clubs from as far away as Cleveland.
'It was an exciting organization," she recalls. "Such wonderful programs and speakers."
"It's just different now. Gals are working now and they just don't have the time," Wozniak said, explaining the challenges faced by the traditional woman's social and educational organization.
Not so long ago, the convention lasted two days, although it's been reduced to a single day for the past two years.
Nonetheless, the organizers promise a memorable gathering for their last hurrah.
The 2013 convention theme, "Friends and Memories," has been chosen by President Joyce Keaton of the Attica Literary Club in recognition of the fact that this will be the last convention. Keaton noted that attendees can "look forward to being with friends and sharing many never-to-be-forgotten memories."
The meeting will begin at Green Gables. The morning program features Raeline Hlaverty from Jeromesville, who will portray Fannie Crosby, the Christian hymn writer.
Luncheon will be served at the Lakeside United Methodist Church.
The afternoon speaker will be Raelene Phillips from Fostoria, who is known as the Pineapple Lady. She is the author of eight books, all describing a simpler time when extending hospitality was a way of life. Those in attendance will leave the program knowing how and why the pineapple became a symbol of hospitality.
The convention is open to any interested woman. For information and registration call 740-504-0865.
Registration should be made by June 29.
As for the post-convention future, "We're such a close group and certainly we'll get together for a lunch occasionally," Wozniak predicted.
While the formal annual gatherings may be ending, the decades-long friendships surely will not.
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