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The MacGahan Foundation Celebrates 40 Years



The MacGahan Foundation Celebrates 40 Years


The first MacGahan festival was organized to celebrate 100th anniversary of the death of Januarius MacGahan in 1978. A small contingent of Bulgarian American men from the Cleveland area came to New Lexington going from door to door on Main Street to seek local support and interest in the proposed celebration. Though there were signs citing New Lexington as being “near the birthplace of Januarius MacGahan “Liberator of Bulgaria” he remained virtually unknown in the county of his birth. The 1978 celebration was successful and it was decided to make it an annual festival on the weekend nearest the birthdate and date of death of MacGahan. Since then a weekend festival has been held annually the second weekend of June.


The 2018 festival will be held June 8-9 to celebrate the 40th year of The MacGahan Festival and the 140th anniversary of the death of MacGahan. While this year’s weekend is still in the planning stage it will include the Memorial Service at the grave of MacGahan in the New Lexington Cemetery, a floral tribute at the statue at Main and Brown Streets; and a Bulgarian/American luncheon. Following the luncheon there will be a program, including a keynote speaker, presentation of scholarships, and entertainment at the First United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall. We anticipate confirmation of Bulgarian folk dancers which have always been very popular at previous festivals.


This year’s program is being coordinated by the Consul General Ivan Anchev of the Bulgarian Consulate in Chicago with the assistance of the local MacGahan Foundation members. A larger than usual attendance is anticipated for the 140th anniversary necessitating a larger venue for the luncheon.  Ambassador Tihomir Stoytchev from the Embassy in Washington DC will be attending. Further details will be available shortly. The event is open to the public. Reservations for the luncheon are not necessary but are appreciated. Contact Barbara Mooney at 740-342-1088 or


Since the early years of the Foundation two $500 scholarships have been awarded: one to a graduate of New Lexington High School and one to a graduate of one of the other schools in the county. Four plaques listing the scholarship recipients are on display in the display cases at the Perry County District Library. Scholarship recipients are announced in time for the schools’ Academic Awards Programs while the checks are presented at the festival luncheon in June. These scholarships have been funded from the interest accrued by the foundation’s Scholarship CD’s.  In recent years the scholarships have become endangered due to the low interest rates generated by certificates of deposit.  This year is no exception.    Nominal contributions would be appreciated to ensure that the full amount can be awarded this year and in future years.  Contributions to the scholarship, fund can be sent to Barbara Mooney, Treasurer  at 7213 Tunnel Hill Rd. New Lexington, OH 43764.    The MacGahan Foundation is a non-profit organization.

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