VINTON — A special homecoming took place Saturday in Vinton — a homecoming that has been ongoing since 1883 and continues to this day as a unique memorial to the veterans of the Civil War.
First established in October 1883 by the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), Corwin Post No. 259 of Vinton, as a “soldier’s campfire,” the annual Vinton Bean Dinner, as it is now known, has traditionally been held on the first Saturday in August. Despite the rain, this past Saturday was no different as members of the community, public officials and those who just love history flocked the Vinton Memorial Park for a soldier’s meal of beans and other fare.
These annual bean dinners were originally organized by those Americans who fought in the ‘War between the States” as a means by which to enjoy the company of their fellow veterans, and is a tradition continued in Vinton by the American Legion Post 161 and its auxiliary. It is an obligation they continue to uphold in honor of the Civil War soldiers.
Also on hand this year, as in past years, was Cadot-Blessing Camp No. 126 of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW). A group comprised of men of Civil War ancestry, the respective camps of the SUVCW are the successors to the GAR — the Union veterans group that sponsored the original bean dinners or “campfires.”
A parade through Vinton, in which the community is encouraged to participate, is also held each year prior to the annual bean dinner. Attendees this year were also treated to good food, in addition to beans, refreshments, live music and games.
The annual Rio Grande Bean Dinner is also held each year in August and will be Saturday, Aug. 9. It is conducted on the Bob Evans Farm in Rio Grande at the Bob Evans Shelter House. This event is sponsored by the Rio Grande Memorial Association.
The Vinton Bean Dinner is reportedly the oldest “documented” bean dinner in the state and serves as fundraiser for the American Legion-Vinton Post 161. Any profits from the bean dinner are utilized by the legion to conduct military funerals, put flags on the graves of soldiers and to support other worthy causes.
For more information on the annual Vinton Bean Dinner or to support next year’s event, contact American Legion Post 161-Vinton at (740) 388-9833.