The Herald Bulletin

July 15, 2013

Scott Underwood: County 4-H fair gives glimpse of Beulah Park's treasures

By Scott Underwood The Herald Bulletin
The Herald Bulletin

---- — Alexandria’s Beulah Park will come alive in another week.

The annual Madison County 4-H Fair, on the grounds of the park, will get started Sunday when a downtown parade officially launches festivities.

The fair will bring lots of folks to Beulah — for elephant ears and lemon shakeups, animal shows, exhibits and carnival rides — who otherwise might never set foot there. But the people of Alexandria realize what a treasure the 16-acre park, nestled along Indiana 9 against Parkview Cemetery on the north, has been for generations.

Just ask Janelle Combs, who was at the park on a recent sunny day with her sister, mother and four nieces and nephews (ranging in age from 3 to 1).

Combs, who graduated from Alexandria-Monroe High School in 2009, fondly remembers running around at the fair and swimming in the municipal pool, built in 1938, in Beulah. But her best memories of the park trace to her teenage years, when she and friends would meet up on the playground in the evenings to swing and talk.

Beulah Park is a thread in the fabric of Combs’ life. It’s a fun, safe place to take a walk, go for a swim or watch the kids play on the slides and swings.

A paved trail encircling the park draws both serious and casual walkers and joggers. Six horseshoe pitches and a tennis court address other local passions.

Two paved full-length basketball courts host spirited pickup games. When I was a sports writer at The Herald Bulletin in the 1990s, I once did an interview with Alexandria High standouts Mickey Hosier and Chris Hahn on the courts at Beulah Park. They talked about the fierce competition during pickup games and how they often were at odds with each other.

But generally speaking, Beulah Park is a peaceful, quiet place, an attractive green space to eat lunch on a pretty day.

In summertime, splashing and youthful laughter draw the eye to the swimming pool, which a few years ago was in danger of closing before a group of local women rallied emotional and financial support to keep it open. Now, kids slither down a 109-foot water slide, while younger tykes splash about in the wading pool.

While you’re out at the fair July 21 to 27, you might cast an eye on Beulah Park and make a mental note to come back after the fair has ended and the park’s various charms can be enjoyed in a more tranquil time.

Editor Scott Underwood’s Monday column will be devoted through the summer to Green Spaces of Madison County. Contact him at scott.underwood@heraldbulletin.com or 640-4845 to suggest topics for the series.