Russia Homecoming a family affair

By Sandy Rose Schwieterman - For the Sidney Daily News

ST. REMY – The Sept. 3-5 Russia Homecoming Festival has lots of local talent offerings, including alumni tournaments, locally-made beer, the local fire department’s kiddie bucket brigade, and a hometown juggler named Crazy Craig.

The festival is located at and around St. Remy Hall on Main Street in Russia. More information on schedules and activities can be found at their website

Craig Fiessenger, committee member, said this family-centered festival is a true homecoming event, with past and present St. Remy and Russia members invited to come in and catch up with friends. It is a fundraiser for the St Remy Catholic Church and the parish uses the funds to help other groups in the Russia community.

He said much of the music entertainment that weekend is locally-sourced. “Starting the Saturday music schedule is the Russia high school band,” he said, “followed by rock group Small Town Boys from Sidney, who just returned from an appearance in Nashville.” Sunday’s music begins with acoustic guitar by Denny Schneible, followed by rock band High Water. “All the members of this latter group are recent Russia grads,” said Fiessenger.

Also planned are many children’s activities, from a Straw Pile Challenge to a Kiddie Tractor Pull. “Anyone who wants to participate in the kiddie tractor pull just has to bring him or herself. The organizer brings everything else,” said Fiessenger. The top winners will get a certificate and their picture taken. Besides mechanical rides the children will be entertained by Feel N Lucky The Clown on Saturday and on Sunday be thrilled by a Careflight Fly In arrival, with demonstrations courtesy of the Versailles Fire Department. Plus, there will be an appearance of the aforementioned Crazy Craig on Sunday afternoon.

“That would be Russia native Craig Muhlenkamp,” said Fiessenger. “He can juggle anything!”

Games of chance will also be a one large fundraising component of the festival. Leading the way will be the Queen of Hearts drawing with ticket sales and drawing on Friday night. Three-quarters of the winnings go to those who score a face card the rest to the St. Remy parish. Fifty-fifty drawings plus games of chance such as Black Jack and Texas Hold’em will raise more money for the church. A fancy stand, fully stocked with donations from parish members, has a winner on every spin of the wheel.

Sports events for both young and old are part of the activities. Saturday is the men’s alumni baseball tournament while on Sunday the alumni basketball tourney is held. Cornhole tournaments for both elementary grades and adults will test people’s tossing skills. Dodgeball contests for a variety of age levels happen on Sunday.

Food and beverage tents will be open the entire weekend. Moeller Brew Barn will supply craft beer, but there will also be domestic varieties too.

Fiessenger said they are excited to be holding the 2021 Russia Homecoming, since it is a chance to celebrate, see old friends and make new ones as well.

By Sandy Rose Schwieterman

For the Sidney Daily News

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.