CHESTER — The annual Meigs Heritage Festival was well attended last Saturday in Chester as the event, formerly Chester Shade Days, made its return to the Chester Courthouse, Academy and Commons.
Chester Shade Historical Association, which operates the historic court house and academy buildings, treated festival goers to a wide range of exhibits and activities on the grounds.
Starting at 9 a.m., car enthusiasts arrived early to view over 60 classic cars.
“I was so worried that rain would keep a lot of people away, but we ended up with a beautiful day,” said Diana Blosser, car show organizer. “The show continues to grow each year, everyone seemed to have a good time.”
Large tents contained artisans displaying handmade wares including jewelry, woodworking, tea, and acrylic laser art. Meigs Historical Society, Meigs Garden Club and Ohio Valley Coin Collectors fielded promoting their organizations. A Farmers Market full of local produce rounded out the tents.
A group of young students received a performance and beginning instruction from past Ohio State Harmonica champions.
Eastern High School cheerleaders manned a dunking machine.
Up on the hill at the academy, the official Ohio’s Best Pie contest evaluated entries for appearance, taste, and crust.
The panel of pie judges comprised a trifecta of Meigs elected officials — Commissioner Randy Smith, Prosecuting Attorney James K. Stanley, and Sheriff Keith Wood.
The judges feigned martyrdom, declaring they would they would “grudgingly eat all this pie, and take one for the team.”
“Everything looks really nice,” Smith said, referring to both the festivities…and the pies. “There is so much going on here, what a great way to celebrate our history and our heritage.”
“This was so much fun,” said Betsy Entsminger, Ohio’s Best Pie contest first place winner. “And everything about the festival was so nice, from the white tents on the commons to all the activities. I will definitely come again next year.”
The day concluded with the Ohio State Harmonica championship, announcement of raffle winners, and a jam session by all the harmonica contestants and judges.
Dan Will, Chester Shade Historical Association president, said a lot of work went into planning and execution, and “I hope everyone had a good time and will come back next year.”
“This was a great revival year, the community was very supportive and we are already looking forward to 2018’s (festival),” said Chester Shade member and one of the event organizers Lorna Hart.
Winners and Awards
Meigs Finest: Maxine Griffith and Lou McQuaid, the oldest attendees at the Festival, were crowned Meigs Finest.
Ohio’s Best Pie Contest Winners: Betsy Entsminger, first place; Mary Williams, second place; Dawna Arnold, third place. The winning pie received a bid of $120 during the auction.
Classic Car Show Winners: Best of Show — Dave Shane; Largest Car Club in Attendance — Gallipolis; Work in Progress — Jim Bragg; Oldest (tie) — Gary Boley and Roan Warner; Firemen’s Choice and Sheriff’s Choice — Willard Sampson; President’s Choice — Gene Kunkle; DJ’s Choice — Bobby Casto. Top 24 — Stanley Houck, Bob Jordan, Jeffrey Hill, David Hively, Anita Roberts, Paul Roberts, Gene Fink, Sue Sayre, Jerry Hart, Janet Hively, Mike Hart, Rex Roy, Tom Davis, Junior Thomas, Dean Archer, Del Russ, Dick Wamsley, Steve Hibbert, Hannah Batten, Charles Armstead, Terry Tolley, George Morrison, Jr., Dana Lewis, and Mike Johnson.
Harmonica Contest Winners: First Place, Bruce Spratling; Second Place,Garrison Hagler; Third Place, Mark Hagler
Raffle Winners: Crystal Figiel won a handmade quilt made and donated by Edna Wood; Patty Grossnickle was the winner of a new bicycle; and Richard Fick a Mark Porter Detailing gift certificate.
Michael Hart is a freelance writer for The Daily Sentinel.