Bull Thistle Festival in Fayette this weekend 7.30

First comes the comedy, then the music, then the dancers.

Those three acts should fill the bleachers Saturday at Fayette’s Royal Bull Thistle Festival. The entertainment events, along with food, arts and crafts sales, will all be located in the shade of the village’s Normal Memorial Grove park near the school.

Mike Hemmelgarn leads off the entertainment at 1 p.m. Hemmelgarn is an accomplished ventriloquist, but that’s just the start of his talents. With the help of his puppets and juggling skills, he’ll have children and adults alike in stitches with his humor that appeals to all ages.

The northwest Ohio bluegrass group Hand Hewn follows at 2 p.m. and they’ll give a repeat show at 4 p.m. Their visit to Fayette is a repeat, also, since they performed a few years ago at the Bull Thistle Festival.

Band leader Jerry Eicher of Delta is joined by fiddle player Brenda Holdridge, upright bass player Don Pawlicki, banjoist Dorn Wells and mandolin player Jimmy Thompson. Eicher plays guitar.

Hand Hewn goes beyond bluegrass to perform folk, gospel and old-timey tunes. They’ve performed together for eight years and have played in a variety of venues, including colonial days reënactments dressed in clothes of the period.

“You talk about fun,” Eicher said, “we have it.”

The Turkey Foot Trotters square dance group will take over the stage at  3 p.m., before the return of Hand Hewn.

OTHER EVENTS—The first festival-related event is scheduled from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Friday with the annual ice cream social sponsored by the United Methodist Church. A full dinner will also be served and a free-will donation will be charged.

On Saturday morning, the Fayette American Legion will sponsor a pancake breakfast from 7 to 10 a.m. to raise funds for the Fulton County Red Cross.

Before filling up, runners and walkers can participate in the Fayette Athletic Boosters’ first “5K 4 the Fields,” an event designed to bring in money for athletic fields at the new school. The event is planned at the track, south of the high school.

Registration begins at 7 a.m., a one-mile fun run at 7:45 a.m. and the 5K run/walk at 8 a.m. For those not registered, T-shirts will be available on race day while supplies last.

The annual parade will head out from the Church of the Nazarene parking lot at 11 a.m. and the chicken barbecue begins in the Grove at noon.

Bull thistle judging is scheduled at 1 p.m. to determine the winner of the coveted Golden Hoe award, and the park will be filled with displays by artists, crafters and food vendors. Inflatable games will be set up for the kids and a pedal tractor pull is planned.

A softball tournament will be played throughout the weekend, the S.A.K. three-on-three basketball tournament begins at 1 p.m. and a classic car show is scheduled at the track.

The day ends with the annual fireworks show from Phantom Fireworks. The event begins around 10 p.m. at Harrison Lake.

The final event of the weekend takes place at  10:45 a.m. Sunday with the community church service in the Grove.

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