An Area Rich in History
In 1819, the Ohio General Assembly determined that Shelby County needed a permanent site to serve as the county seat. Seventy acres of cleared farmland adjacent to the Great Miami River were donated and the new town was named Sidney, after Sir Phillip Sidney, an English patriot and writer. Just to the northwest of Sidney is the town of Ft. Loramie, which was the site of Pierre Loramie’s Indian trading post and a military fort built by General Anthony Wayne in 1794.
Visitors to Sidney can take a historic tour of downtown Sidney and the Shelby County court square listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Points of interest include the majestic Shelby County Courthouse, considered to be one of the finest in the nation, the Peoples Federal Savings and Loan designed by famed architect Louis Sullivan in 1917, and the Monumental Building, constructed to honor the County’s fallen heroes from the Civil War.
Activities and Recreation for the Whole Family
There’s always something to do in Sidney. Seasonal events on the downtown square include Sidney Civic Band concerts, BBQFest, a weekly farmer’s market, Kids Fall Festival, Christmas of Yesteryear, and a variety of other family-friendly activities and events. The Winter Wonderland Parade attracts thousands to downtown Sidney to kick off the holiday season when the court square takes on the glow of countless sparkling lights, beautifully decorated storefront windows, and other seasonal decorations.
The Shelby County Fair in July and a large variety of community festivals throughout the year attract visitors from all points who come to enjoy the food, exhibits, and live entertainment at these truly unique Shelby County festivals.
Nearby Jackson Center is the home of Airstream Inc., the world renowned recreational trailer manufacturer. Airstream is a popular stop for many who visit the area. The company conducts a daily tour that gives visitors the opportunity to view their manufacturing facility and see first-hand how the American legend Airstream is built.
For those who enjoy the great outdoors, Tawawa Park, located within the city, is a 220-acre wooded reserve where visitors can hike, bike, fish, and picnic. Walking trails guide hikers along the park’s winding creek and around its several lakes.
The city’s public swimming pool complex is located just inside the park entrance. The scenic Great Miami River which flows leisurely through the city, offers the adventurous both fishing and boating opportunities.
Lake Loramie State Park, to the north of the city, includes a 1600-acre lake with 30 miles of shoreline. It offers unsurpassed beauty and convenience for the family who wants to combine boating and camping adventures. At Lake Loramie visitors can set up camp and launch their boats, knowing there is plenty of opportunity for cruising. A designated swimming area gives young and old alike a chance to enjoy the water or simply relax in the sun. Bicycles can be rented at the park office providing visitors with the opportunity to explore the park and nearby communities of Fort Loramie and Minster.
The Sidney-Shelby County YMCA has everything from tennis courts to a well-equipped fitness center. If golf is your game,Shelby Oaks Golf Course north of Sidney provides 27 holes to challenge players of all skill levels. A well-stocked pro shop and driving range make this a must-visit site for every golfer. How about roller skating?Rolling Hills Skate offers a fun, wholesome environment for skaters of all ages. Group outings and parties are always welcome too.
Alive with Art and Entertainment
Visitors to the Sidney area will be pleasantly surprised at the variety of performing and visual arts available for the public to enjoy. The Gateway Arts Council offers a wide range of programs, exhibits, and performances for all ages. From Shakespeare in the Park, to programs just for children, to Garden Tours in the summer, the Arts Council has an entertainment activity most every month.
Each year, the Amos Memorial Public Library features traveling exhibits that showcase the work of some of the best artists from around the country. In addition, regional artists are featured regularly in the Library’s gallery which is free and open to the public.
The Sidney Dance Company and Sock & Buskin Community Theatre groups are well-established ensembles that each year brings live performances to local stages.
In July, the Hills are truly alive with music when Country Concert at Hickory Hill Lakes presents the nation’s top country music artists for a three-day extravaganza. Fans come from all 50 states to enjoy the non-stop, world class entertainment.
Your Downtown Sidney “Must Do” Checklist
- Treat yourself to a chocolate shake at Chilly Jilly’s.
- Pick up a small gift for that special someone at Ivy Garland.
- Take in an evening concert on the square.
- Grab a selfie and slice of homemade pie at the world famous Spot Restaurant.
- View the latest Bicentennial exhibit at the Ross Center.
- Tour Sidney’s finest home, GreatStone Castle. While there, maybe enjoy a massage in their magnificent spa.
- Locate Sergeant Baker at Sidney’s Monumental Building.
- Check out a Louis Sullivan architectural masterpiece – the Peoples Federal Savings Bank built in 1917.
- Paddle down the Great Miami River from Custenborder Fields to Roadside Park.
- Hike to Big Rock and then onto the covered bridge at Tawawa Park.
- Pedal the canal feeder bike trail from Graceland Cemetery to the Great Miami River.
- Attend a Backstage Block Party concert behind the Historic Sidney Theatre.
- Stroll the Great Sidney Farmer’s Market.
- Grab a cold cocktail at Murphy’s Craft Bar + Kitchen or KB’s Tap House.
- Meet a friend for dinner at The Bridge restaurant.