MARIA STEIN – Tractor Square Dancing may help bring the tens of thousands of people to the 2018 Countryfest in Maria Stein Ohio on June 22, 23, and 24, but it’s the music, acrobatic acts, food and friendly faces that keep them there all weekend.
In its 31st year, this family-oriented event on the grounds of the historic Relic Chapel grounds continues to offer free parking and entertainment and no charge for admission, says Country Fest advertising chair Don Huelskamp. He added that a complete schedule for the event can be found at mscountryfest.com.
Headlining are the Nerveless Nocks, an acrobatics act featuring sway poles and a headfirst free-falls, tightrope and motorcycle stunts.
“For those who need a little noise and a little dirt,” Huelskamp said there are go-cart races, garden tractor pulls, and the Poor Boy antique tractor pulls., followed by the real power of the Darke County Tractor Pullers Association gas and diesel truck and tractor pull.
A new addition to the exhibitions of motor power is the Tug A Truck competition from Wapakoneta, whose organizers claim is one of the largest in the country.
For those few who could have possibly not heard of them yet, the Maria Stein Tractor Square Dance will dosey-doh their way around the ring again on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This completely country event changes their theme every year but their precision tractor handling continues.
Foodies will be able to feast on the authentic American Legion turtle soup and the Knights of Columbus freshly fried chicken, plus pizza, brats, cabbage rolls, loaded fries and strawberry shortcake. Moeller Brew Barn craft beer will be on hand as well as domestic Miller beer products
There are volleyball, dodgeball, and cornhole tournaments, a punt, pass and kick football contests, and Quarterback Challenge.
For the younger set, there is a Mini-Indy for 4 to 6 year olds and for even smaller ones, A Diaper Derby is scheduled. A petting zoo and wagon rides are also available. Regular fair rides and concessions by Otterbacher Shows are on site as well.
Seven bands and DJ’s keep the music going all weekend. They include Another Round, new to Country Fest, Free Lance, Shucking Bubba Deluxe, Kyle Koesters, Clark Manson, DJ Pacman and Mandy Rismiller.
This hometown event is one of the larger in the region, with an estimated 75,000 visitors last year. This year the Country Fest committee has begun a new effort to market the event and gauge community interest by partnering with Froggie 92 Radio.
So, according to Hueskamp, whether visitors want quiet conversation over bingo and craft show shopping, gasps of amazement at the acrobats, or stomach-rumbling roars of tractor pulls the Country Fest has some of everything to make a weekend there memorable.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.