Morenci Town & Country Festival 06.23.2010

Written by David Green.

Morenci’s Town and Country Festival unfolds Thursday for a three-day run at Wakefield Park. Activities begin with the opening of carnival rides at 5 p.m. Thursday and conclude at midnight Saturday with rap singer HiZe.

Thursday: Morenci Fire Department members will demonstrate extrication of a victim from an automobile accident at 7 p.m. Thursday on the Kiwanis Little League field. The demonstration will show the possible consequences of texting while driving.

A karaoke service from Toledo will look for volunteers to climb the stage and show their stuff from 8 to 10 p.m.

That’s also the night of another old guys vs. young guys softball game—a contest that proved popular two years ago as a pick-up event.

Friday: A Corn Hole tournament gets underway at 5 p.m. Friday, along with the opening of the beer tent. A men’s softball tournament continues throughout the night.

The Battle of the Bands will begin on the tennis court at 7 p.m., followed by the annual arm wrestling championship.

The sand volleyball tournament was canceled due to a lack of participation.

Saturday: Saturday comes with a full schedule of events. It’s also the final day of the festival, with no events planned on Sunday.

The first event of the day is the horseshoe tournament at 10 a.m., scheduled on the east side of the park near the BMX track.

Carnival rides will start up at 11 a.m., the same time as the festival parade. This year’s parade will be led by motorcycles participating in the poker run.

Motorcycles will go on display around 5 p.m. at the park.

Chicken barbecue dinners will be served at the park concession stand beginning at noon. Corn hole contests start again at noon, with sign-up throughout the morning.

A dog show begins at 12:30 p.m. Judges will be looking for the cutest and most talented canines.

The Masonic Lodge from Fairfield will be back again this year with the CHIP child identification program. All of the identification items produced at the event are given to the child’s family. That includes a dental impression, DNA from cheek saliva, a color photograph, fingerprints and a voice recording.

The service is offered at no charge. Hours are from 1 to 4 p.m.

A bevy of young cheerleaders from a studio in Archbold will show off their skills on the stage at 2 p.m., followed by a fashion show at 2:30. Bridal and prom wear from Lacy’s Petals and Gifts will be shown on the stage.

At 3:30 p.m., the winner of the weight loss challenge, sponsored by Josh and Jill Baumgartner of The Spot, will be presented.

The two winners of the Battle of the Bands will perform Saturday starting at 5 p.m.

The Lost Nations Rodeo is scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m., featuring barrel racing and bull riding.

The featured entertainment act of the festival begins at 8:30 p.m. when the Grape Smugglers band from Toledo takes the stage. The group will perform until 10, followed by the fireworks show around 10:30.

This year’s show will be presented by Miller Fireworks of Monclova, Ohio.

“We weren’t unhappy with the previous show,” said festival committee chair Sue Snyder, “but we were looking for something different.”

Miller promises a bigger show for the same cost—more bang for the buck.

Morenci’s rapper HiZe (Cody Long) will perform from 11 p.m. until midnight to wrap up the festival.

Festival committee chair Sue Snyder urges people to sign up for events right up until they start, such as arm wrestling, corn hole and horseshoes. No registration is needed for karaoke.

Grape Smugglers

Morenci’s Town and Country Festival committee was looking for a return engagement from singer Charles Elliot, but when they learned he no longer lives in the area, the search started for another musical act.

Mike Fee of Morenci, who serves as the sound technician for the festival, knew just the ticket. Saturday night’s stage act is the well known Toledo band the Grape Smugglers.

The group consists of seasoned musicians who have played throughout the Northwest Ohio area as well as out on the road.

“We have all played and continue to play everything from small bars up to major concerts, opening for national acts,” said guitar player/vocalist Dave Stella.

The seven-piece group plays music from a range of performers including the Doobie Bros., Van Morrison, Delbert McClinton, Marshall Tucker, Average White Band, Eric Clapton, Sanford Townsend Band, John Mayall, Stevie Wonder and others.

 In addition to Stella, members of the Grape Smugglers are Rick Thomas, guitar/pedal steel/vocals; Jon Diener, bass/vocals; Chuck Caswell, drums; Joe Martin, sax/flute/vocals; Tim Tiederman, keyboards/vocals; and John Grafing, trumpet.

 Battle of the Bands

The annual Battle of the Bands begins at 7 p.m. Friday at the Town and Country Festival. Bands will set up their equipment on the park tennis court and each take a turn performing.

Votes by the audience will determine a People’s Choice winner and three judges (Sybil Diccion, Jerry Bach and Mark Pennington) will vote on a Judges’ Choice.

Bands will compete for $700 in cash prizes, with $350 going to each of the two winners. If a band wins both awards, the members take the entire $700.

Seven bands have signed up to compete:

• Adverse Enigma makes its third appearance at the battle. The Adrian-based group plays hard rock, rock and metal.

• Sugar Frog of Toledo plays a variety of musical styles.

• Variety Pak of Delta features classic rock and roll. Loyd Bell’s son Kevin is the group’s drummer.

• Trixy Disco includes former Morenci resident Roger Hagerman and is based in Kalamazoo. The group plays modern rock.

• Mouth Sown Shut, playing industrial/experimental music, has members from Adrian and Fayette, along with Alex Garwood of Morenci.

• Mental Breakdown of Adrian will provide the heavy metal touch for the competition.

• TBA still isn’t ready to announce a name. The Morenci band makes a return appearance for its classic rock tunes. This year’s members are Zac and Scott Phillips, Chris Cornelius, Michael Valdez, David Conolly and TJ Hutchison.

Judges will consider musical ability, stage presence, technical ability and professional attitude.

The two winners are scheduled to perform Saturday night from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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