It’s that time of the year again when members of the Elmore Historical Society are busy making final preparations for the 33rd annual Portage River festival, planned for Sunday, June 24 at Depot Park.
This year’s events begin at 7 a.m. at Woodmore High School for the 37th 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 can sign up for the 3rd annual Portage River Festival 5K run/walk, which begins at 8:30 at the Elmore Cycle and Fitness Shop near the North Coast Inland Trail. The PRF 5K will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the same location. For more information, call Candy at 419-355-3322.
Bakers are invited to whip up a batch of their favorite cupcakes to be judged among the best of the best. Confections may be dropped off 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 events, the Redneck Lawnmower Pulling Contest, brings together pullers and fans of all age groups for fun, excitement and prizes. Registration runs from 10 a.m. to noon. Pulling will begin at 12:30 a.m. next to the Quonset hut at Depot Park. Call Tim Erickson at 419-376-2639 for more information.
Showcasing the Elmore area’s talented has become a tradition at the festival. Registration for the popular Talent Judging Contest begins at 11 a.m. near the stage. The talent show and entertainment, featuring Randy (The Harmonica Man) Velliquette, will be held at the stage beginning at noon and running through 6 p.m.
Other highlights include a performance by Heidi’s Twirlers, from Woodville, who will display their talents on the basketball court next to the depot beginning at 1 p.m. and The Charlie Schneider Memorial Car Show, Antique Car and Tractor Show, which will be held on the south side of the Historical Society Barn. In addition, The Elmore Model Railroad Club will be displaying their 1950s Elmore Village Train layout in the depot, where Elmore historical memorabilia will be on display. The Heckman Log House will also be open for touring.
New this year, the Woodmore FFA will hold their first annual “Cow Patty Bingo” contest beginning at 2 p.m. at the north end of the Depot. A cow will be turned out into a fenced-in area marked off with 300 squares that have been “purchased” prior to the event. The owner of the square where the “cow patty” lands will receive half the proceeds from the sale of the squares. Purchase squares for $5 from any Woodmore FFA member or by calling Mr. Downs at 419-862-1376. If all squares are purchased, the lucky winner will receive $750.
Great food has been a mainstay at the festival since its beginning in 1980. Roast beef, sausage and sauerkraut, hot dogs and Coney dogs, fresh-cut French fires, onion rings, baked beans, coleslaw, 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 festivalgoers bring lawn chairs.