Lake Loramie Fall Festival ready for a comeback

By Blythe Alspaugh - [email protected]

MINSTER — The Lake Loramie Fall Festival will be out in full force this year, and has come a long way in its 39 years.

“It definitely has created a lot more with antique tractors and the arts and crafts vendors, when it just started out with a handful of things. It has grown with more entertainment on that end, and the mountain man encampment also developed from that — it’s just grown in a lot of ways,” Park Ranger Jason Whitman said.

Lake Loramie Fall Festival will begin at 4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 17 with the opening of the arts and crafts show, antique tractor show, a DJ and other activities and vendors and run through Sunday, Sept. 19. Attendees this year can enjoy various food vendors, the Shelby County Shooting Sports Archery Trailer, tractor activity races, Tim Kuening Chainsaw Carvings, and live music entertainment from groups such as Monroe Country Band, Open Road Band, the Fort Loramie Alumni Band, Fort Loramie Marching Band, Minster Marching Band and Russia Marching Band.

Kids activities include a birds of prey program with naturalist Shawn Conner, a spider activity, puppet shows, a magic show, balloon twisting, and various arts and crafts activities. There will also be a tractor parade through the main camp at 10 a.m. Saturday, with roads in the main camp closed until 11 a.m.

Food vendors for the festival are the Lake Loramie Improvement Association, Future Farmers of America, Fort Loramie Community Service Club, Cumberland Kettle Corn, Houston Community Association, Chill Wagon, Grandma Moses Ice Cream Homemade Ice Cream, Ranger Concessions and Egbert Concessions.

“We offer a lot with entertainment, of course, and the food vendors that will be out here. A lot of them are non-profit organizations, so that money stays right back within their organization and the park,” Whitman said.

The festival is open to visitors and campers alike; while most of the permanent camping sites have been spoken for, roughly 100 overflow beach campsites will be offered for the festival. All fires at overflow campsites must be above ground and grilling must be done in a portable grill. Additional overflow camping is offered behind the campgrounds, called the back channel. Reservations for overflow camping are open and can be made by contacting the park office at 937-295-2011.

“It’s just a growing thing. Years ago, we never had the overflow area at the beach, so that has just grown in popularity, because that’s where people like to come out and do that part of camping. You can’t argue with being on the beach — you’ve got a great view of the lake, and it’s just pretty this time of year,” Whitman said.

While state parks didn’t close last year during the pandemic, many special events at Lake Loramie had to be postponed or even canceled. Up until Gov. Mike DeWine lifted health orders and restrictions, Whitman said they weren’t sure they would be able to hold a festival this year. Planning for the fall festival happens a year in advance, and for this year’s festival, Whitman and other park rangers, staff, surrounding state parks and volunteers only had a few months to get everything ready for this weekend.

“We’re doing our best with everything — from tractors, to the arts and crafts, to the food vendors and entertainment — we’re putting it together. We are moving forward and doing the best we can to make that happen,” Whitman said.

With the festival a few days away, Whitman said it’s wonderful to be in the final stretch of pulling everything together

“It’s a relief knowing that it’s looked forward to every year, with people coming out and enjoying themselves, and feeling that this is their park. Just take it all in, and enjoy what we have to offer,” Whitman said.

By Blythe Alspaugh

[email protected]

Reach the writer at [email protected]

Reach the writer at [email protected]