HOUSTON – Despite growing pains, organizers of the 7th Annual Houston Community Classic festival are impressed with past results and a hopeful future. This year, the event is set for June 24 at Hardin-Houston Local School, 5300 Houston Road. The festival opens at noon.
Committee chairman Jodie Stangel said Mother Nature handed them a setback two years ago. However, better crowds are expected as the festival grows in awareness and purpose.
“Every year our festival goal is to bring our community together, and, of course, continue to grow. As we continue to be more established, we plan to offer a scholarship to one of our graduating seniors” Stangel said.
Regarding visitor numbers, Stangel said, “We don’t have a way to track attendance but we have seen ups and downs over the years. Two years ago, we worked hard to recover from a detrimental weather year. Basically, we had to start from scratch with funding, and since then we have done well and are able to continue our great event. We feel like we have some things dialed in and hope that this is our best year yet.”
Stangel said many groups from within the community step to help. Their works pays off the improve the festival and raise needed funds.
She noted the committee’s mission statement, which reads, “The Houston Community Classic Festival is a volunteer based organization dedicated to serve the Hardin-Houston community. A group of individuals working together to encourage a strong sense of community through social activities, supporting community projects, network of neighborhood, business, civic associations, our school organizations and faith-based groups in an inviting environment for people of all ages to mingle and converse.”
Other committee members include Emily and Michael Ginn, Paula and Curt Mohler, Beth and Jason Shaffer, Cori and Tom Steiner, Brad and Amy Timmerman, and, Josh Vondenhuevel.
“We are always looking to make our festival better and have a variety of activities. We continue to have participation from school clubs such as the baseball and golf teams, and the FFA along with both of our local 4-H clubs. New this year, our girls basketball team will be manning a dunk tank featuring Hardin-Houston staff. Our cheerleaders will be manning our “Fricker’s Kiddie Fun Zone.”
The Houston Classic 5K Run/Walk begins at 8:30 a.m. A 1-mile Fun Run begins at 9:15 a.m. Registration for both events begins at 7:15 a.m.
At noon, the festival opens featuring a kiddie tractor pull, gambling tent, jumpies, cow patty bingo and several food booths. A cruise-in will be held from 1-5 p.m.
Throughout the day, a DJ will provide recorded music and music trivia in the entertainment tent.
Haywired is the featured live band beginning at 8 p.m. with country western music.
Information on their website states, in part, “The band was formed in 2011 with a dream and just a couple shows that year. What was to follow was that Haywired developed into more than just a group of guys in a band, to a group of guys that have become family. The band now travels to venues all around Northwest and West Central Ohio.”
Jarid Kohlrieser of Cridersville is the lead singer and front man. Matt Rainsburg of Lima plays both lead and rhythm guitars as well as doing backup vocals. Zach Whetstone of St. Marys is the bassist. David Gregory of Dayton is the band’s drummer.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.