MARIA STEIN – New activities ranging from an acrobatic circus, a comedic magic show and a revival of a sing-a-long tradition join old favorites like tractor square dancing and big machine pulling contests at the 2022 Maria Stein Countryfest set for June 24, 25 and 26.
Don Huelskamp, Countryfest public relations representative, said the festival is a bargain in many ways. “It’s free parking, free entertainment and free admission,” he said, “with just the cost of kids rides, food and beverages. “And all the money stays in the Marion area, benefiting our community organizations ranging from scouts, to schools, to fraternal organizations.”
He added that a complete schedule can be found on the Maria Stein Countryfest Facebook page.
Visitors will have a range of activities to choose from every day they attend the event situated at the expansive grounds off St. Johns Road in Maria Stein.
Huelskamp said their new main entertainment, Circus Incredible, will kick off their acrobatic performances on Friday evening, with more shows Saturday and Sunday. For those who like a little comedy mixed with their magic, the Almost Amazing Rex and Dana will be for them. “And each day there will be our famous Tractor Square Dancing,” he said, “although the theme will be a secret until Friday night.”
Lovers of thunderously loud and high-powered energy events will be drawn to the tractor pulls. On Saturday, the Poor Boys Antique Tractor Pull Division I and II will start at 11 a.m. On Sunday, it is the Darke County Tractor Pullers Association starting at 2 p.m., which includes the best and most powerful of souped-up vehicles.
The festival also is stocked with music all weekend. Friday evening Brother Believe Me takes one stage and DJ Pacman on the other. Saturday, the rock band Act 3 occupies one stage while Dan Schnieble’s acoustic guitar plays on the other. Both start at 8 p.m. Sunday the entertainment is Free Lance at 3 p.m. and Free Rider at 7 p.m.
Another new music entertainment is an old fashioned Singalong at 5 pm Sunday. The crowd is encouraged to sing along to old and new songs led by a live vocalist and guitarist. Song lyrics will be posted in front of the stage, so those who want to participate can use their Iphones to take pictures of the lyrics.
For those who love the sport of it all, new to the Countryfest is a Sunday Spikeball tournament at 3:30 (registration at 3 pm.). “It’s sort of a combination of volleyball and ping-pong,” said Huelskamp.
Other competitions range from a Saturday morning 5K run, volleyball and dodgeball competitions. On Sunday’s schedule, there are cornhole, challenger league baseball and 3 on 3 basketball for elementary and junior high students. Not to be missed is an adult-sized Big Wheels Retro competition at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday.
All through the weekend, food will range from Knights fried chicken to Legion turtle soup, to the sandwich tent with food and drinks. Of course, beer and softer alcoholic beverages will be served and a variety of games of chance will offer a chance to win a little money while donating to the bottom line of other Marion community organizations.
Huelskamp said a new Nostalgia tent will revive memories of past Countryfests by showing pictures and old programs.
Kids rides will be provided by Otterbach rides and other family entertainment will be Bucky the Robot, a corn box and Loblolly wood turners. Crowd favorites, such as a craft show and bingo (using actual corn kernels) and a diaper derby will be available. Football teams will be participating in lift-a-thons and a quarterback challenge.
The Countryfest, one of the largest in the region, was begun years ago, combining the festivals of all the individual organizations such as the American Legion and the Knights of Columbus, the Maria Stein convent, and many other organizations in the Marion Local community.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.