The Elmore Historical Society is making final preparations for its 34th annual Portage River Festival, which will be held Sunday, June 23 at Depot Park in Elmore.
This year’s festivities will begin at 7 to a.m. at Woodmore High School, with the 38th annual Portage River Bicycle Tour. Bicyclists can follow different routes during the tour, which is sponsored by Hostelling International-Toledo Area.
Those who would rather run or walk for exercise and fun are invited to sign up for the fourth annual Portage River Festival 5K run/walk from 7:45-8:45 a.m. at the Elmore Cycle and Fitness Shop near the North Coast Inland Trail. The 5K will begin at 9 a.m. at the same location. For more information, call Candy at 419-355-3322.
Bakers who would like to have their favorite cupcake recipe judged with the best of the best can drop off their cupcakes at the Elmore Depot between 9 and 10 a.m. Judging will take place at 10:30 a.m. For more information, call Renee at 419-574-1559.
One of the festival’s fastest growing and most popular events is the Redneck Lawnmower Pulling Contest. Now in its sixth year, the event brings together pullers and fans of all age groups for fun, excitement and prizes. Registration runs from 10 a.m.-noon. Pulling will begin at 12:30 p.m. next to the Quonset hut at Depot Park. Call Tim Erickson at 419-376-2639 for more information.
Heidi’s Twirlers, from Woodville will be displaying their athleticism and synchronization talents at the basketball court next to the depot beginning at noon.
Step back in time at the 4th Annual Charlie Schneider Memorial Car Show, Antique Car and Tractor Show, which will be held on the south side of the Historical Society Barn.
The Elmore Historical Society will be hosting the second annual “Farm Animal Patty Bingo” contest beginning at 4 p.m. at the north end of the depot. A farm animal will be turned out into a fenced-in area marked with 300 squares, which can be purchased for $5 each from society members. Whoever “owns” the square where the “patty” lands will receive one half the proceeds from the sale of the squares. If all squares are sold the lucky winner can walk away with $750.
Festival-goers will be treated to a wide variety of musical entertainment this year. Beginning at 11 a.m., “Tobiah” will perform Southern Gospel songs. From 1-2 p.m., Susan Sebetto will entertain with a wide country music favorites from yesterday and today. Holly Harper will take the stage from 2-3 p.m., performing Gospel music, followed by David Lester, who is well known throughout the area as an accomplished guitarist/vocalist. The Harmonica Man will emcee the musical extravaganza.
History buffs will want to visit the Heckman Cabin between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., where Natural Imprinting Crafts will be offered. The activity, which is kid-friendly, is the art of pounding various plants to create beautiful colors and prints on muslin sheets. Also at 1 p.m. at the Heckman Cabin, there will be a19th Century Cooking and Housework presentation with food samples provided.
Beginning at noon at the Elmore Depot, there will be a presentation of Native American Artifacts and Life in Ottawa County. An artifact display from the Edwin Scheff family will be on display from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Also at the depot, there will be a presentation entitled “Elmore Train Depot and Transportation through Elmore from the 1870s until the1930s.”
The Historical Society will also be selling Elmore memorabilia, cookbooks, and the Elmore-Genoa historical book, along with Steve McFerrin pencil sketch prints of Elmore scenes at the museum, which is located in the depot.
Great food at the Portage River Festival has been a mainstay since its beginning in 1980. Roast beef, sausage and sauerkraut, hot dogs and Coney dogs, fresh-cut French fires, onion rings, baked beans, cole slaw, strawberries and ice cream, and award-winning cupcakes from the contest will be sold beginning at 11 a.m.
The Elmore Historical Society and co-sponsor Materion suggest festival-goers bring lawn chairs, relax and enjoy a wonderful day of fun, food and entertainment at this year’s Portage River Festival.