The History of the Chagrin Valley Jaycees

The Chagrin Valley Junior Chamber of Commerce, better known as the Jaycees, was organized in 1954. Membership was open to “all civic minded men from 21-35 years of age, regardless of trade, profession or background”.

The first meeting was held at the Chagrin Valley Little Theatre where 27 interested residents adopted the constitution and bylaws forming the Junior Chamber of Commerce, “Jaycees” Chagrin Valley Chapter.

  • Chagrin Valley Junior Chamber of Commerce “Jaycees” started in 1954. Membership is open to “all civic minded men from 21-35 years of age, regardless of trade, profession or background”.
  • On February 19, 1954 the first meeting was held at the Chagrin Valley Little theatre where 27 interested residents adopted the constitution and bylaws forming the Junior Chamber of Commerce, “Jaycees” Chagrin Valley Chapter.
  • The Jaycees began work to improve the Chagrin Falls Holiday Lighting tradition in 1956 where they would see to the Nativity Scene and approximately 400 lights for the north end of town. At the northern end of town small pine trees were tied to the telephone poles and a few trees planted along the side walk.
  • Since 1956 the Chagrin Valley Jaycees begin their annual Distinguished Service Award and Disbursements Banquet which honors those who have made significant contributions to the Jaycees and the community.
  • In January of 1956 the Jaycees announced that they would sponsor a revival of Blossom Time in May of 1956. A parade began on Oak Street and South Franklin and went up East Washington to the Chagrin Valley Recreation Center. The Blossom Time festivities were held at the Chagrin Falls High School grounds and the Chagrin Valley Recreation Center from 1956-1959. The 1956 parade was 2 and a half hours long and had several bands and more than 25 floats. Helicopter rides were also available. The other big attraction of Blossom Time was the Carnival which consisted of booth’s and rides. The Carnival has been a part of Blossom time since 1956.
  • The Jaycees again sponsored the 1958 Blossom Time that was held on May 30, 31 and June 1st. Some 4,500 man hours to put on the festival were recorded. This year fireworks and a Concourse D ‘Elegance car show were added to the festival.
  • The Chagrin Valley Jaycees Exhausted Roosters formed in 1958, was a group of “retired” Jaycees that were previously instrumental in organizing and putting on the Blossom Time festivals and parade.
  • In 1961 The Junior Chamber of Commerce offered to take over the installation of Village’s Christmas decorations.
  • The Jaycees undertook the rebuilding of the stairway to the falls.
  • In 1962 the Chagrin Village council told the Jaycees they could use Riverside Park if the Jaycees would clean it up. The Jaycees spent over $700.00 making the “park” into a park and putting in permanent electrical wiring to cover both Blossom Time and Christmas lighting each year.

The Carnival and festivities moved to Riverside Park and the Parade Route was reversed from previous years and originated at the High School grounds and proceeded west on east Washington street to the center of the village.

  • Since 1956 the dates of the festivals have always been the last week of May and included Memorial Day.
  • Hot air ballooning was revived and became a popular Blossom Time activity in 1974 with balloons filling the sky throughout the weekend.
  • Jaycees create the Outstanding Jaycee Award in 1978.
  • “Philco” established as a holiday lighting prep room in 1990
  • The final appearance of the Jaycee Exhausted Rooster Clown Troupe was as the Blossom Time Parade Marshals in 1994 and included Bob Roeder, Dick Voss, Jerry Maus, Jack MacRitchie, and Barnes Tait.
  • Established the Don Lawrence Memorial Golf Outing 2003
  • The Jaycees create the CVJC Charitable Foundation in 2004
  • Jaycees sponsor the Haunted township hall in 2008 and 2009
  • 2nd rebuilding of the stairway to the falls 2011
  • In 2015 the Jaycees bring the Circus back to the valley
  • In 2015 a Blossom Time Parade Party Award was created to commend the efforts of the resident’s along the parade route that celebrate/decorate their homes and lawns during the Blossom Time Parade.
  • In 2017 the CVJC’s created a new award commemorating the founder of Chagrin Falls, Noah Graves. The 1st recipient of the Noah Graves award was Troy Young
  • In addition a new award was created in 2017 called the Martini Award which is presented to a new member of the Jaycee’s that has made significant contributions since joining.
  • A New storage facility for holiday lighting was built in 2018
  • A new tradition began in 2019 when GIVE Chagrin Valley Women’s League in cooperation with the Valley Art Center introduced the Blossom Time Commemorative Poster Contest.
  • The 2020 Blossom Time Festival and Parade were cancelled due to concerns of the Corona virus worldwide pandemic.
  • In 2020 the Chagrin Valley Jaycees Foundation and the Chagrin Valley Jaycees merged their organizations to continue to serve the community. The new 501c3 organization is committed to sustaining its commitment to the residents of the Chagrin Valley with the establishment of an endowment fund that will continue to support Jaycees charities throughout the Chagrin Valley for many years to follow.
  • The Jaycees established an Investment Committee in 2020 to support charitable organizations throughout the Chagrin Valley in perpetuity.

The Chagrin Valley Jaycees Today

The Jaycees are responsible for many of the best loved traditions in the Chagrin Valley. They organize and run the Blossom Time Festival, the annual Easter egg hunt in Riverside Park, scarecrow stuffing and a live tuba band during Octubafest in Triangle Park, and decorating the Village of Chagrin Falls with holiday lights and trees during the festive season.

Currently the Jaycees boast a large membership of men and women from throughout the Chagrin Valley which includes Chagrin Falls, Bentleyville, Moreland Hills, Russell, South Russell, Aurora, Solon and Bainbridge. Because of the universal support the Jaycees enjoy from donors and residents of the Chagrin Valley alike, they are able to not only continue their support of a great many charities, but also to keep alive the traditions that make the Chagrin Valley special.

Chagrin Valley Jaycees: Doing good in the neighborhood since 1954