MARIA STEIN – One of the bigger festivals in the area, the Maria Stein Country Fest, is coming back June 25-27. This year’s event offers everything from the well-known tractor square dancing to a new acrobatic aquatics program, plus arts and crafts, and music on multiple stages. Most important, the entertainment is free, as is the parking and entry to the event.
Held on the historic and expansive Relic Chapel grounds in Maria Stein, visitors can find both exciting entertainment up and down the midways as well as quiet places under the old oaks and maples, all adding up to one rewarding experience. Complete details can be found on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/mscountryfest.
Country Fest committee member Al Mescher said they will again have the “excellent Knight’s chicken, famous Legion turtle soup, along with a host of various food and beer stands, bingo, games of chance, and similar events that raise funds for local groups’ year-long activities.”
Mescher said tractor square dancing this year has a military theme and they will be recognizing the veterans in the audience as well. Mescher, as a 20+ year veteran of tractor square dancing, said while they have performed their act of multiple tractors spinning in tight formation elsewhere, it is the Country Fest version, where the audience is up close to the performance, that makes it really exciting, “because we can see the enthusiasm on people’s faces.”
The headline act of Country Fest is the Aquatic Acrobatic Show, presenting for the first time at the festival. Lead performer Martin R. Alvarez promises a new and unique show with thrills, comedy, and beauty.
“Our 30 foot ring of water is the stage for amazing acrobatics, where mermaids turn into aerialists and my son balances on top of six cylinders on the watery stage.” He added only five people in the world can manage the feat and this family troupe will be presenting it for the first time to Country Fest audiences.
Alvarez also promised this is a true family event, which includes interaction with the kids in the audience.
“I will come out half-way through the show to have a little fun with the kids with water guns and bubbles, and for some, a little red nose just like mine.” Aquatic Acrobatics performs all three days of the festival.
The music lineup rocks the entire weekend. Friday night, the Shucking Bubbas are on one stage and DJ Pacman on another. The classic rock band Brother Believe Me returns to the stage on Saturday, and Limited Time (a new group to Country Fest) plays Sunday. The festival is wrapped up by the popular local group Free Lance.
Many of the 50,000+ visitors come to see and hear the roar and the thunder of the Poor Boys Antique Tractor Pull on Saturday, June 26, and Sunday, June 27,presented by the Darke County’s Tractor Pullers Association. They can also stop by the new Ohio Motorpool Inc., where military machines of many types are on display.
The kids are not forgotten either. They can participate in the new Corn Chip Challenge, where they can find prizes in a sea of corn kernels and take part of the Mini-Indy big wheel races. Cracker Jack and Company will be amazing the young ones with an interactive magic show full of comedy and energy, plus the creation of lots of balloon animals.
Local young athletes compete in in the Quarterback Challenge, a Three on Three Basketball, a Dodgeball Tournament, and The Punt, Pass and Kick contest. Adults are also in the action, with a Cornhole Tournament, a 5K Run/Walk, and a 12, 25 or 50 mile bike tour.
Country Fest also recalls the religious roots of the region by hosting a Saturday night folk mass with music by the Ranly Brothers, as well as the 87th annual pilgrimage walk on Sunday afternoon, June 27.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.