There still may be frost on the windshield on some of these March mornings, but today is officially the first day of spring and warmer days are coming – as well as our annual assortment of festivals and fairs in Jackson and Vinton counties. It all starts with the Vinton County Wild Turkey Festival on the first weekend of May and continues through the Jackson Apple Festival on the third week of September.
Let’s take a sneak peek at what’s coming:

Vinton County Wild Turkey Festival – The 35th annual edition will unfold on the downtown streets of McArthur Thursday through Sunday, May 2-5. The festival committee recently announced an impressive lineup of musical entertainment which should suit practically all tastes. Performers will include: Chris Keesey and the Band Keesey (classic country), Angela Perley and the Howlin’ Moons (rock), The Apple & the Moon Band (acoustic & folk), Donna Mogavero (variety of genres), Julia Neville (country), The Kenny Valentine Band (blues, funk and pop-rock), and The Professors (60s classic hits). Valentine is a 1973 graduate of Jackson High School and his band along with Chris Keesey and the Band Keesey and Angela Perley and the Howlin’ Moons have all performed at the Markay Cultural Arts Center in downtown Jackson.
The festival committee also recently announced that Vinton County High School alumnus Carlin Hagerty will serve as the festival’s master of ceremonies for the Thursday and Friday night activities. Also, Kissel Amusements will be serving as the new rides company, which the committee describes as being “first class and experienced.”

Oak Hill Festival of Flags – As always, the festival takes place on Memorial Day weekend (Friday, May 24 through Monday, May 27) with the activities centered on Aetna Park next to the Imogene Brunton Davis Memorial Building. The festival committee is beginning to release information about this year’s edition on its Facebook page and recently announced that the Rock House band, which plays rock classics from the 80s, has been booked to perform on Friday evening, May 24, thanks to the sponsorship of the Oak Hill Main Express. Another exciting addition to the schedule will be a Custard-Eating Contest, sponsored by Whit’s Frozen Custard of Jackson. Other bands have been booked and confirmed for both Saturday and Sunday evenings with country music being featured on Saturday and a Beach Boys tribute band on Sunday. More details will be released soon. A new rides company has also been hired, which is expected to provide a much better situation.

Jackson County Fair – The confirmed word is that the Jackson County Fair Board has booked another top Nashville singer as their headline entertainer for this year’s fair, which is scheduled for July 12-20 and that a public announcement is likely coming very soon. Fair Board Vice President Christopher Smalley was able to say that the featured singer is “an up-and-comer” whose national star is definitely rising. The big concert event will be on Thursday evening, July 18. Also on Wednesday evening, the fair will offer a monster truck event featuring the famed “Big Foot”.
On another front, the Fair Board has undertaken a major capital-improvements project with the construction of two new buildings, a new Sheep/Goats Barn and a new Junior Fair Office. Both are expected to be finished in time for this year’s fair. A fundraising campaign is also under way to pay a portion of the money needed for the $223,000 project. 
Donations are still needed and naming-rights sponsorships are still available. Smalley expects the Double M Construction Co. to start construction the first week of April.

Vinton County Junior Fair – The 2019 Vinton County Junior Fair is set for July 22-27 with some pre-fair events on the weekend leading into the fair. 
Board President Austin Owings reports the main activities are already planned with one of the features being two shows performed by the Cincinnati Circus on Wednesday, July 24. The always popular thrill shows are being slotted into the other evenings, including a tractor pull on Monday, the demolition derby on Tuesday and the motocross on Thursday.
One of the big additions to this year’s lineup is a first-ever fireworks display on Friday night. Also a youth Junior Fair Board organization has been formed and Owings says its members will be helping with painting work at the fairgrounds prior to the fair.

Ohio Hill Country Festival – This will be a transformative year for the Ohillco Society as the Wellston Coal Festival has now become the Ohio Hill Country Festival. The name change for the festival marks a return to its roots as it began in 1974 as the Wellston Ohillco Festival and was spawned by Wellston centennial celebration in 1973. This year’s festival, as always, is the week of Labor Day and is set for Tuesday through Saturday, Sept. 3-7. Ohillco Society President John Pelletier states that one of the major improvements this year will be the hiring of a new rides company, which is expected to provide a much better attraction in this important department.

Jackson Apple Festival – The Jackson Apple Festival is scheduled for Tuesday through Saturday, Sept. 17-21 and much of the headline entertainment has already been booked and announced. 
The featured entertainment on Friday night, Sept. 20, will be the nationally-known country music group, Shenandoah, which has had 13 No. 1 hits in its 30 years of performances and is currently conducting a 30th-year national anniversary tour. The Apple Festival Committee has also announced that the featured entertainment on Thursday evening, Sept. 19, will be Beatlemania, which is billed as “the world’s best Beatles tribute band”. Other announced attractions will be the Ohio University Drum Line on Wednesday evening, Sept. 18, following the Opening Parade, and a presentation by the Columbus Zoo on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m.
That’s About It… Be Seeing You.