Russia Homecoming Festival set for Labor Day weekend

By Elaine Schweller-Snyder - For the Sidney Daily News

RUSSIA — Plans are underway for the 2016 St. Remy/Russia Homecoming Festival to be held Sept. 3-4 on the grounds of St. Remy Church in Russia, Ohio. As always, the event organizers welcome home past community members and invite everyone to enjoy a weekend of fun, food, and friendship.

The 11th annual Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament kicks off the festivities on Friday, Sept. 2, at 6:45 p.m. Activities on Saturday and Sunday begin at 9 a.m. and run until 11 p.m. There will be an outdoor Catholic Mass on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. in the Grotto.

This year’s festival has some new wrinkles including remote control race cars, pony rides, exotic animal viewing, and a petting zoo. The remote control car racing game will run on a 1/10 scale radical circle track. Valley Exotic Zoo, a hands-on experience for children and adults, will bring animals to the festival under the care of owners Jamie and Dianna Beneke, of Eaton.

“We would also like to mention that we have added a Craft Beer Trailer from Moeller Brew Barn in Maria Stein,” said Festival Chairman Rob Cordonnier. “This will be a nice addition to our already impressive selection of Anheuser-Busch products.”

Locally brewed craft beers from Moeller Brew Barn are becoming popular at many area establishments.

The festival will also include a number of old favorites including the “Celebrity” Dunk Tank, indoor bingo, dodgeball and cornhole tournaments for all age groups, a co-ed volleyball tournament in the park, a kiddie tractor pull, and “home cooked” festival food. Featured foods include barbecue chicken dinners and homemade desserts. The traditional Bake Wheel, Raffle Table, and Fancy Stand are accepting donations of baked goods, handcrafted items and baskets for the festival.

C&S Amusements of Dayton will again provide mechanical rides, carnival games, and food trailers. Rides will run on Saturday from 5:30 to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 2 to 10 p.m. Presale all-day wristbands will be sold for $15/day at Buschur’s Market until Saturday at noon. Individual ride tickets are $1 each.

The annual Running Raider 5K will begin at 9 a.m. on Sunday with a one-mile Fun Run to follow at 9:45. Deadline for entries in the Cutest Baby Contest is Aug. 31 and 8-inch by 10-inch baby pictures should be dropped off at the St. Remy rectory office.

A number of raffle drawings will be held including 50-50 drawings at the close of each day’s activities. There will also be a Mum Sale on Sunday.

No festival is complete without music and Russia will have plenty of toe-tapping sounds for the whole family. The Russia High School Band will perform on Saturday at 6 p.m., followed by KGB (Kyle Epperson and Jack Langenkamp) at 7:30 p.m., and Mark Cantwil at 9:30 p.m. Amateurs take the stage at 3 p.m. on Sunday for a Lip Sync Contest, followed by the sounds of Danny Schneible at 4 p.m. Preferred Jugglers will entertain the crowd at 5:30 p.m. At 7 p.m., Country Concert 2015 Semifinalist Jake Cline will be featured, and at 9:30 p.m., Tyler and Mason DeMange will close the evening entertainment.

“We want to thank our many generous donors whose contributions allow us to offer prizes and prize money for the Early Bird Drawing, Raffle Table, and 5K Run,” said Cordonnier. “A list of these donors and a complete schedule of events can be found on the Russia Homecoming website.”

In addition to Cordonnier, co-chairmen of this year’s festival are Karen Monnier and Nick Fullenkamp. Joining them are more than 70 volunteers who are chairing the various activities throughout the weekend.

For more information, visit

By Elaine Schweller-Snyder

For the Sidney Daily News