By STACY MILLBERG - firstname.lastname@example.org
Celebrating 65 years, the Grand Valley Festival will blend the old with the new this weekend.
“We tried to look at what they did at the old fairs and tried to blend it with the new,” said Diana Ristimaki, event chairperson.
In keeping with old-time tradition, Ristimaki said this year’s festival will feature a greased pig contest on Saturday afternoon. There will also be a booth set up for old-fashioned photos all weekend. Festival patrons can get dressed up in old-time garb and take keepsake photos, she said.
Another interesting event will be the hay bale roll, where participants will have to roll a square hay bale from one point to another and back again. There will also be a sack race and tug-of-war contest for children.
“These are all free activities,” Ristimaki said. “We are trying to be creative and come up with new things.”
The fun starts Friday at 6 p.m. with an opening ceremony with the Orwell American Legion Post 179. The National Anthem will be sung by the Agape Christian Choir followed by the presentation of the Orwell Village Award.
Rides and Midway open at 6 p.m. as well. The Miss Grand Valley Contest will kick off at 6:30 p.m. for girls ages 14-18.
The RaZor Sharp Band will perform classic rock tunes from 7:30 to 10 p.m. and Friday’s festivities will conclude with a fireworks display at Grand Valley School at 10:15 p.m.
Saturday morning will play host to a first responder’s breakfast at Orwell Fire Hall from 8 a.m. to noon. There will be a book sale at the Grand Valley Public Library from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and a trunk sale at St. Mary’s church parking lot from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The 14th Annual Car Show will be held at Midway Chevrolet from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Saturday will also feature a full line-up of activities for all ages. The greased pig contest will be held at the south end of the festival grounds at 4:30 p.m. Registration begins at 3:30 p.m. at the information tent and there is a $1 entry fee. The event is open to anyone age 11 and up.
Brett Allen Morgan will take the stage at 6 p.m. for his “Real Hero Tour 2013,” the Crossroad Dance Studio Dancers will perform at 7 p.m.
At 8 p.m., Wyld Ryde will take the stage and fill the festival grounds with country music sounds. The Midway and rides are open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday.
Sunday will kick off with breakfast from 8 a.m. to noon at St. Mary’s church hall. The rides and Midway will open at 10 a.m.
The annual festival parade will step-off at 2 p.m. This year’s parade theme is “65 Years of Grand Valley Memories.”
The bath tub races will be held at 11:30 a.m. on North School Street. There will be a $5 entry fee for each three-person team. Teams must pre-register by 1 p.m. on Saturday at the library.
The Grand Valley’s Got Talent show will take the stage at 5 p.m. for all ages. There is a $5 registration fee. Participants must register at the information tent by 6 p.m. Saturday.
Sunday will also feature a number of musical performance throughout the day, with Dennis Ford closing out the festival’s entertainment line-up.
Also featured Sunday will be a pie and baked goods auction, photo contest winners announced, chicken barbecue dinner and pie judging contest. The baby photo contest winner will be announced at 9:30 p.m. at the Orwell North Presbyterian Church and the individual raffle winners will be announced on the festival grounds.
The festival closes at 10 p.m. Sunday.