Through the combined efforts of the Bicentennial Committees, Ardagh Group, and Omega Enterprises, 1000 collectible Bicentennial jars are ready to be given away at the upcoming Founder’s Day celebration on Saturday, August 18.

    Four months ago, the bicentennial committee members decided that something special was needed to mark the Founder’s Day celebration, something that residents could take home as a lasting memory of the 200th anniversary of both Randolph County and Winchester. And, in a community so known for its glass production, a commemorative jar seemed an obvious and fitting tribute.

    The three Bicentennial committees working together to make this idea a reality, contacted Ardagh Group and Omega Enterprises, who immediately got on board with the project and began the process to get the jars produced. Aaron Wine, Plant Manager at Ardagh Group’s Winchester facility said that they were very pleased to be involved in the project. “As a major employer and an integral part of the Winchester community for over one hundred years, Ardagh Group is honored to collaborate with Omega Enterprises to support the community.”

The Ardagh Group glass container manufacturing facility in Winchester was originally built in 1904 by Woodbury Glass, and has been in continuous operation over the past 114 years. The News-Gazette toured the Ardagh Group facility and watched the Bicentennial jars while they were being produced, moving down the line from the beautiful glowing red gob of molten glass to a warm-to-the-touch, pristine glass jar ready to be given to one of the revelers at Founder’s Day. Over the course of just a few hours, all 1000 jars for Founder’s Day were finished and packaged.

“This is history being made this morning,” said Jim Nunez of the Bicentennial Committee.

Creating a glass jar such as this requires that every step in the process go perfectly, because one misstep can ruin everything. The actual creation of the jar has been a months-long process, from planning to design to creating the mould. Ardagh Group is quick to share credit with Omega Enterprises for their work on this project. Omega, owned by Jim Jarrett, made the mould for the commemorative jar.

Omega was given a design drawn by Dustin Shannon which needed to be put into a mould. Using an AutoCAD (computer-aided drafting) program, over the course about 80 hours Omega’s Curt Long hand-traced the design into the computer, adapting the design to really stand out on the jar and then adding in the courthouse. His CAD drawings created a curved 3D design that could then be used to create the mould.

The job of machining the mold was given to Don Staton who has worked at Omega for nearly 25 years, meaning he is especially experienced in this kind of meticulous work. The finishing work, called vicing, ensures that there are no sharp edges that could cause the glass to check. John Wolf, who has been with Omega since 2011, was given this responsibility.

Said Jarrett, “We’re here to try to help support the city and the county. As a business in the city of Winchester and in the county, we live and work here and take pride in where we live. We’re just proud that it came out great.”

Nunez, one of the driving forces behind the scenes of the Bicentennial celebrations in Randolph County, is thrilled by the results. “This jar is something that can be kept and displayed, and 50 years from now our kids will be able to look back and remember this day.”

The Bicentennial Committees are very thankful to Ardagh Group and Omega Enterprises for their help in seeing this commemorative jar project through.

The City and County Bicentennial Committees include members CM Bales, Melissa Brutchen, Scottie Harvey, Moe Lennington, Jim Nunez, Dustin Shannon, and Nicole VanNote. The Bicentennial Plaza Committee members are Jake Donham, Gary Friend, Owen Griffith, Scottie Harvey, Errol Klem, Mary Ann Lenkensdofer, Ted Martin, Jim Nunez, Fred Pries, and Mike Wickersham.