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September 7 - 10, 2016

"There's No Place Like Home" - Celebrating 40 Years of Family Fun

Every year, on the Wednesday through Saturday after Labor Day, the people of Fredericktown congregate on Main Street to celebrate the Fredericktown Tomato Show. The Tomato Show began its annual celebration in 1976 and continues to be especially exciting and entertaining for all.

The four-day Festival is filled with fun and activities including rides, games, contests and live entertainment. On Thursday a kids parade is held. Kids participating are judged on the way they demonstrate the theme of the parade. The "big" parade is held on Saturday and features numerous floats, horses, and walking units. This is one of the biggest and best parades in the county, the streets are always filled with people ready to watch.

One event that draws a large crowd is the Bathtub Races. During the Bathtub Races, groups consisting of three people (one driver in the bathtub and two people pushing) race down a hill and back up with a bathtub full of various items. Drivers never know from year to year what the tub will be filled with. The mystery adds to the excitement of the race.

Other events include the lip sync contest, one of the most colorful and amusing events and the crowning of Little Miss Tomato.

For more information, visit their website at www.tomatoshow.com.

Dan Emmett Music & Arts Festival Car ShowMusic, crafts, cars and family fun abound at the Dan Emmett Music and Arts Festival. Held to celebrate the legacy of Daniel Decatur Emmett, author of such songs as "Dixie" and "Turkey in the Straw," the Dan Emmett Music and Arts Festival showcases artists and musicians performing such styles as bluegrass, country, folk, oldies, rock-n-roll, Christian and big band.

Held on Thursday through Sunday of the second week of August, the Festival's trademark is its outstanding music and entertainment format and a juried artisan exhibition offering awards for artistry and presentation.

 

Entertainment at the Dan Emmett Music & Arts FestivalMusical entertainment in the past has included such artists as Arlo Guthrie, The Letterman, Phil Dirt and the Dozers, The Kingston Trio, Arnette Howard, Jazz Arts Group of Columbus, The Four Aces, Back Beat, The Four Lads, Jan & Dean, The All-Ohio State Fair Band, The Avalons, Joey Dee & The Starlighters, The Vogues, and Paul Revere and The Raiders. Saturday's entertainment includes an old-time fiddle, and bluegrass banjo contest. Musicians from all over come to compete for prizes while entertaining a crowd full of old-time music lovers.

Visitors can take time out to see the historic sites of Mount Vernon including Dan Emmett's birthplace and the Woodward Opera House, America's oldest authentic 19th century theater.

Sunday is dedicated to gospel music, kid’s activities, an antique and classic car show and arts and crafts. Many local and national Christian artists perform for audiences on Sunday.

For music, crafts, cars and family fun, visit the Dan Emmett Music and Arts Festival. For up-to-date Festival information visit www.DanEmmettFestival.org or call 1-800-837-5282.

The Woodward Opera House in Mount Vernon, OhioIn 1850, when the first north-south railroad line was about to open in Mount Vernon, a local entrepreneur leased land on the corner of South Main and West Vine Streets. There Dr. Ebenezer Woodward built a four story building with a theater on the top floor which in time would become the Woodward Opera House. Woodward Hall opened in 1851 and was an immediate success. Citizens had access to new forms of entertainment, local and traveling. In this pre-telephone, pre-electric, pre-central heating era, the theater was regularly used for speeches, political meetings, and special events.

So successful was Woodward Hall that in the late 1870s, it was enlarged to encompass the third floor of the building and to building behind it. This larger performance space accommodated 700-800 people and larger professional entertainment groups from as far away as New York City performed. Musicians, comedic, legitimate theater, and minstrel troops regularly visited the Woodward. One notable regular, Al Field's Minstrel Company, was to immortalize Mount Vernon's native son, Dan Emmett. Daniel Decatur Emmett, the author of "Dixie," regularly performed at the Woodward, giving his last performance there in 1902 two years before his death.

With the advent of moving pictures (the first shown in Mount Vernon was at the Woodward in 1897) and competing first floor theaters, the theater gradually became a less attractive venue. Fortunately the 19th century appearance of the Woodward Opera House was never compromised. For this reason it is justifiably called America's Oldest Authentic 19th Century Theater.

Today, the Woodward Opera House is being restored to its 19th century appearance but with all the 21st century amenities required for operating a theater.

Tours of the Woodward Opera House are available during the Dan Emmett Music & Arts Festival, First Fridays events, and Mount Vernon’s Christmas Walk. Special group tours may be arranged by calling 1-800-837-5282 or (740) 392-6102. For current information on the project or to contact us, visit our website, www.TheWoodward.org.

The Kokosing Gap Trail is nicely paved and provides a wonderful path for walking, jogging, biking and rollerblading. This 14-mile recreational trail was built on the former Pennsylvania Railroad bed. The Trail begins in Mount Vernon and winds itself to Danville via Gambier and Howard.

The Trail makes an ideal place for vigorous exercise. It's easy to note distances and to mark progress in physical fitness programs. On the other side of the coin, the Trail can be used for a leisurely walk. It's not uncommon to see deer, hear the gobbles of wild turkeys or see a blue heron skimming the top of the river looking for food.

In spring and summer, the wild flowers provide a beautiful border for the softly rolling hills and cultivated fields. As the seasons change, so does the scenery along the path. Summer greens give way to the bright oranges, reds and browns of autumn and then again to the dull-beauty of winter.

The Chesapeake & Ohio caboose #90776 is permanently parked at the Gambier stop. This caboose was built in November 1924 by the Standard Steel Car Company of Baltimore, Maryland and was active until 1979. In October 1997, it was donated to the Kokosing Gap Trail.

The caboose was in poor condition and required serious repairs. Volunteers from the community constructed a new sub-floor, oak floor, double-pane windows and a seamless rubber roof. It was given a fresh coat of paint and now sits proudly beside the Trail as a reminder of the past and the importance that rail travel played in U.S. history.

The basic rules to follow while using the Trail are:

  • Stay to the right. When passing, pass to the left.
  • Keep pets on a leash and off the trail surface.
  • Be alert at intersections.
  • Don't trespass (private property borders the path)
  • No alcohol.
  • Don't litter.
  • No horses or motorized vehicles.

For more information, including a map of the trail, visit www.kokosinggaptrail.com

By Jim Gibson

There is something for everyone to enjoy at the newly expanded Knox County Historical Society Museum, no matter whether you are interested in Knox County’s distant past or more recent times. The Museum is located at 875 Harcourt Road, which is also Route 3 and U.S. 36, at the southwest edge of Mount Vernon.

The Museum represents many aspects of Knox County’s history, including industry, arts and entertainment, transportation and communications. Specific exhibits tell the story of our educational, religious, business, military, industrial, financial, social and cultural institutions.

The recently added Gene Miller Wing features a 70,000 pound Cooper-Bessemer GMV-4 gas line compressor-engine, which highlights the Museum’s collection of Cooper Co. farm steam engines and many other products from their beginnings here in 1833 through present-day operations as Rolls-Royce Energy Systems Inc.

The outstanding “George Tanner Telephone History Collection,” includes telephones, switchboards, test equipment, insulators, photographs and local directories from the late 1800s to the present. Our religious history exhibit is built around the beautiful circular stained-glass window, which had graced the First Baptist Church building since 1884.

“Spanning the Century” is the Mount Vernon Bridge Co. exhibit. Mount Vernon Bridge Co. produced many beautiful highway and railroad bridges across America for nearly 100 years, as well as the structural steel work for both the Ohio Stadium and St. John Arena at The Ohio State University.

“The Musical Heritage of Knox County” exhibit features many important artifacts and photographs of such native entertainers as Daniel Decatur Emmett, fiddler John Baltzell, the musical Snowden family, and actor and comedian Paul Lynde. The Emmett Collection alone includes Dan’s handwritten musical compositions and orchestrations, personal musical instruments and song sheets, business contracts and handbills, his handmade quilt, minstrel show chairs and family portraits.

The KCHS Museum is open from February through mid-December on Wednesday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m. and Thursday through Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. Schools and other group tours should be scheduled in advance. An admission donation is appreciated. Additional information is available by calling (740) 393-5247.