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.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
  • Front.bridge.17
    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.eclipse
    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
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    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
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