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Alquina celebrates with what's still there

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Charles and Bernice Hobbs are picturedat the Alquina Blue Arrow Festival. Four generations of Bernice’s family attended Alquina school.
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Katie Nobbe works on making bows Saturday morning at her booth.
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Audra McGuire shows a customer a set of Color Street nails.
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By KATE THURSTON - kthurston@newsexaminer.com

ALQUINA — Bernice Hobbs, 93, was among hundreds of people who gathered Saturday morning to celebrate the 4th Annual Alquina Blue Arrow Festival.

Four generations of Bernice’s family attended the school. She recalled the Alquina of yesterday as she attended the festival with her husband, Charles.

“I was born south of Alquina, I am 93 years old,” she said. “I went to Alquina School for all 12 years. We had two grocery stores here, a post office, two beauty shops, and some more places. There were several doctors who had offices in Alquina, too. The Redmens Lodge was located in Alquina above Hudson’s grocery store. 

“The original school set right out by the road. I graduated in 1944 from Alquina. I am the oldest member of Alquina United Methodist Church, I started going at four years old. There are four generations of our family that attended Alquina schools throughout the years as well. My three daughters have all went to the church and my husband joined the church when we married. 

“I really didn’t like when they tore the school down. There is a lot of history in this area.”

The high school closed in 1966 and the elementary school continued until 2010. Two years later, it was demolished.

Many others came to the festival to set up as vendors and to just enjoy the fellowship with fellow Alquina lovers.

“I love Alquina, part of my family has gone to church in Alquina for several years, my uncle is the preacher there,” Audra McGuire said. She set up a booth to sell Color Street Nails. “The festival is such a fun event, if you aren’t here you are missing out. There are so many cool cars here too. I love seeing so many people that I know here.” 

 “This is my first year setting up at the festival,” Jerry Fray of Everton said. “Getting started in the essential oil business brought me here. I wanted to introduce them to people in the area. There are a lot of people and lot of great things going on here.”

Tracy Bennett sold crocheted items.

“I didn’t realize they had been doing this festival, I was happy to hear they were. My kids went here and my youngest had to finish at Eastview when they closed. We were really disappointed when that happened. It is really great to have this, it should be a good crowd.”

John Johnson worked hard to create a tent filled with posters of information about Alquina and Jennings Township. His display showed the 200 years of Jennings Township. He had also collected some memorabilia from the school that was put on display.

Pam Krepp used to be a lunch aide at the school and has always held the community close to her heart.

“The community is really tight, I moved here in 1979. The school had grades kindergarten through grade 6, had three special ed classes and a resource center, I worked at the school for many years,” Krepp said.

“A lot of the families have been here for several generations. It is really sad it is gone. We wish we could have at least kept the gymnasium but it didn’t work out so we worked with what we had,” Krepp said. “We have some great people on the park board here. We are trying to do good things, we finally got our non-profit status so we can apply for grants, we need some work done here. We are slowly working on things here.”