Mineral City, Ohio - A beloved three-day celebration of all things autumn kicks off this Friday at Atwood Lake Park and features a major change that organizers say vendors and attendees are sure to appreciate.
The 36th annual Atwood Area Fall Festival is set for October 5-7 and will be held for the first time at the new Area H camping area on the western side of the park.
Festival Committee President Jim Downing says the camping area offers several advantages over the area of the park that had hosted the festival for more than three decades.
“There is more room. All of our crafters will be on concrete pads. All the roadways for the spectators to drive around are blacktop,” he says. “Before, we used to be in gravel, grass, all of that. Now, it is all blacktop.”
Downing says one of the biggest advantages for guests is that they won’t have to walk through any mud.
“Come rain or shine, you’re not going to have to walk through mud or mulch or a bunch of straw, and all the vendors will be on blacktop or concrete pads so when you walk into a vendor’s spot, you’re not walking from a gravel road into a mudhole. It’s all going to be concrete,” he says. “You can come out here in your flip-flops. You won’t have to wear boots now.”
Downing says that the paved roads will also make it easier for attendees with disabilities to get around the festival.
“It’ll be very handicap accessible. The wheelchairs won’t have any problem moving around. The mobility vehicles won’t have any problem moving around here,” he says.
In addition, Downing says the new venue features public restrooms and showers along with spectacular views of Atwood Lake.
“You can see the lake very well from four different spots. The view is tremendous,” he says.
The three-day festival opens at its new venue this Friday morning at 10 a.m. and continues until 5 p.m. Sunday with activities, demonstrations and live musical entertainment offered daily throughout the weekend.
Daily activities include weapons and combat demonstrations, an encampment and mountain men demonstrations outside of the festival grounds, an antique engine show, and a craft show featuring more than 140 vendors.
The festival will also have plenty of entertainment options for children including inflatables, a craft tent, a petting zoo and a kids tractor pull on Saturday beginning at 4 p.m.
Live entertainment will be provided on three stages throughout the weekend. Acts slated to perform during this year’s festival include the Carrollton High School Showstoppers, Two Old Geezers, illusionist Ed Ellis, Family Band, Tequila Mary, New Town Cloggers, hypnotist Mike Bishop, Double Deuce, street magician Tim Angeloni, magician Jeff Conley, Valley Voices, Schoenbrunn Barbershop Chorus, Bluegrass Sweethearts, juggler Tim Bethel, Celebration, Moonlyterz, Kick N Cloggers, Jerome James, ventriloquist Ken Groves, and Roger Hoard & Dan Jones.
Additional highlights of the festival include a Haunted Hayride sponsored by the Tusky Valley Ruritans on Friday and Saturday beginning at dusk, a Jack-O-Lantern contest and family scavenger hunt on Saturday beginning at 9:30 a.m., a pumpkin decorating contest on Saturday beginning at 11:30 a.m., and the Yesterday’s Classics Car Club Car Show on Sunday from 8 a.m. to noon.
“It’s something for everybody,” Downing says. “It’s an outdoor festival. You get out in the open air, and it’s such a beautiful site out there. You can come out and spend a whole afternoon. We have benches set up all through so if you did want to sit down and relax and see the fall leaves changing, you can see all that out here.”
Festival admission is $5 per person, free for children under 12, and $2 on Friday for seniors ages 55 and older. Attendees can also purchase a pass for admission for the entire weekend for $10. Atwood Lake Park is located at 9500 Lakeview Road NE in Mineral City.
For a complete schedule of events or directions to the park, visit www.atwoodfallfest.org.
STACEY CARMANY, TUSCO TV