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Garrettsville SummerFest’s 8th Year, A Smashing Success

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Garrettsville SummerFest lived up to all that it was billed to be and more this past weekend as the festival committee put on a smashing event. The weekend kicked off Friday night with record-breaking crowds, as the opening ceremonies paid homage to our Armed Forces. Representatives from the Air Force, Army National Guard and Army were on hand to greet the crowd. SummerFest honored Col. Michael Chinn for being one of Garrettsville’s highest ranking service members. Chinn was awarded a plaque for his achievement and service.  James A. Garfield’s Marching Pride also paid homage to the troops by playing a medley of patriotic songs and the theme songs of  each military branch. The band was awesome as usual.  Col. Ed Meade from Camp Ravenna and Air Force representative Randi Baum unfurled the “Thank You for your Service Banner” as the weekend festivities began.

The crowds continued to grow as a record number of folks enjoyed the sounds of Mr. Speed (KISS Tribute Band), and the Boys are Back band. The flower show and quilt shows were opened and Pet Idol photo contest winners revealed. It had the makings of a great weekend.

Saturday morning bright and early, canoes hit the water to take on the challenge of the mighty Silver Creek in the Annual Steeple Chase. Six teams felt they were brave enough to conquer the creek.

Kids, 14 years and under, passed, punted and kicked their way to see who would win the Punt, Pass and Kick Contest. By noon, folks were staking a claim to spots for watching the Annual Tractor Parade. Tractors of all sizes, shapes and ages rumbled into town to the delight of the crowd. The kids pedal tractor pulls were a huge success and kids tested the strength of their legs pedaling a weighted sled a cross the bridge.  Ice cream eating was a big attraction for the kids as they tried to capture the crown, while avoiding the brain freeze.  The best pie bakers in the area were also revealed. The SummerFest wedding went off with out a hitch as Jessica married Nick on the main stage before a large crowd. Aaron Bonk was back for another year and entertained the crowd with his whips, juggling act and swords. This was a show for the entire family.  Devin Dressler retained his Hamburger Eating title for the fourth year in a row. Dressler downed three burgers equivalent to over 2 lbs of meat in about five minutes.
The crowds continued to grow as the band “Panama” took to the stage.  Two other popular bands, Bringing Benetar and Recess were on hand to entertain the crowd as well.

The chamber cruise night set a record of over 225 cars on display. The midway was crowded all day and night with vendors struggling to keep up with the hungry, thirsty crowd, but they hung in there and claimed the victory. Fireworks closed out the day as folks oooed and ahhhhed at the pyrotechnic show.

Sunday morning, about 230 folks hit the ground running/ walking for the annual 5K Run/Walk for Kids Cancer. This event was in memory of local resident Melana Matson who lost her battle to glioma a few years ago. Her hope lives on in others as they strive to raise monies for a cure. The grand parade brought out a record number of folks again this year, as they lined the streets. Family canoes races in which one usually sees tip-a-canoe or flip-a-canoe, was a success with no tips or flips until the end when the kids intentionally hit the water. Cloggers clogged, dancers took the dance challenge and folks played Deal or no Deal with the band boosters. Live entertainment on all three stages continued throughout the day. Two hours before the grand finale of the weekend was to take place folk started settling in  for Garrettsville Idol. Big Chuck and Lil John emceed the event and crowned Garrettsville Idols. The teen winner was Valerie Polinko, youth winner was Kiley Weis and the adult winner went to Mariah Queer. The teen and youth winners won $500 for their efforts and the adult winner was awarded $1000.

The weekend closed out with the truck raffle. Everyone’s dream was still alive until big Chuck drew the winning name for the Ford F-150 truck or $20, 000 in cash. Congratulations to Ken Pike of Hiram winner of the SummerFest Raffle, who now must decide if he wants the cash or the truck.

SummerFest was not only a weekend of fun and creating memories it was a weekend to celebrate the freedoms and privileges that we treasure and to honor those who continue to sacrifice their lives, time and energy protecting those rights and freedoms. Thank you to all who serve our country and to those who have served.

View more Summerfest photos at http://www.facebook.com/GarrettsvilleSummerfest
This year’s SummerFest was sponsored by, Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce, Geauga Vision, Ellerhorst-Russell Insurance Agency, Kepich Ford, Main Street Grille and Brewing Company and the Weekly Villager.