Updated Tue, Oct 1, 2013 2:34 pm
The Chesterhill Harvest Festival returns to Morgan County this Saturday, promising a full day of live music, food, crafts, horse-drawn wagon rides and more.
The event, now in its 8th year, is the largest--and most important--fundraiser for the Union Hall Theater, according to Union Hall Programming Coordinator John Wetzel.
"Rarely do ticket sales pay the full expenses for one of our shows. Almost every show, taken on an individual basis, incurs a loss," he explained. "We make up for those losses with fundraisers, of which the Harvest Festival is primary. The money raised from the pie auction and booth fees will help us to put on shows next year, including Ribs, Rhythm & Blues in early June, which will feature some outstanding blues and roots music bands, plus a delicious ribs dinner."
This year's entertainment includes Wetzel's blues/country/rock band, the Blues Cowboys, which also features former Chesterhill resident Mike Thompson on lead guitar. The group is rounded out by David McPherson (aka "Uncle Buck" of Uncle Buck's Riding Stable and Dance Barn in New Marshfield) on lead vocals and bass and David Leach of Jackson on drums. Wetzel, who regularly performs around Athens County as a solo act, provides guitar, harmonica and vocals for the band.
Other acts on the bill include Cutler, Ohio's Bob Rothwell, who will perform solo acoustic renditions of folk, rock and country classics. David Paxson and his daughter Allison, of Columbus, will provide country gospel with guitar and mandolin accompaniment.
And Q-Bert, a solo classic rock/soul act, may seem familiar to many longtime area residents--the man behind the deep baritone voice and acoustic guitar is Rob Quebman, formerly of the popular '90s Athens group The Voodoo Birds.
For Wetzel, this event is not just about raising needed funds for the theater; it's also a chance to bring the community together for a very enjoyable day. That includes the pie auction, a staple of the Chesterhill Harvest Festival.
"For the pie auction, we used to have judges rate the pies, and a professional auctioneer sell them. But more recently, we dropped the judging and switched to a very casual auction format that usually generates a few laughs while still getting the job done," he said. "Pies and other desserts are donated by community members, some of whom have been refining their special recipes for decades. On a sad note, we lost one of our best pie bakers, Rose Shaw, last year. Another great pie baker, Mary Carpenter, has had some health issues recently and will not be donating pies this year. We will be thinking of Rose and Mary during this year’s event."
For those wishing to rent a booth space, provide a performance or craft demonstration, enter a quilt, donate pies, sell food, provide children's activities or participate in some way, contact John Wetzel at 740-698-0420 or Robin Horner-Williams at 740-554-3271.
The event will take place at the south end of Chesterhill, next to the Church of Christ. Admission is free.