BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — Rock out at the main stage, catch candy tossed from floats, browse vendor and artist booths and take a step back in time during the Saturday, September 24 Roche de Boeuf Festival.
The 49th annual festival will take over downtown Waterville with activities for all ages and interests, said Jackie Lehman, executive director of the Waterville Area Chamber of Commerce, which hosts the event.
The festival opens at 9:00 a.m. with vendor and organization booths lining both ends of Third Street. The Rue des Artists, hosted by the Anthony Wayne Area Arts Commission on North Second Street, will feature the work of 32 local artisans.
“Delightful metal critters, jewelry, paintings, glasswork, hand-carved birds, garden art, photography, handcrafted woodwork, furniture and much more will be part of the beautiful work on display,” said Lisa Exner, AWAAC board member. “Celebrated local artists like Aaron Bivins, Christine Deemer and Tana Johnoff, to name a few, will be displaying their work.”
This year, festivalgoers can contribute to a free community art project. Stop by the AWAAC booth to design a piece to add to “The Tree of Dreams,” which will be a large mural created by all ages.
At 10:00 a.m., it’s parade time. The Anthony Wayne Marching Generals and Whitehouse American Legion color guard will lead the way from the intersection of Farnsworth and Michigan, down the hill to South River Road toward Waterworks Park.
Throughout the day, entertainment is planned on several stages, including the Main Stage near the Columbian House. Curtis Jr. and the Midnight Rockers play blues/rock from noon to 2:00 p.m. The JT Hayden Band brings southern rock to Waterville from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. The Original Killer Flamingos perform classic rock from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. The beer garden will stay open until 7:30 p.m., and food trucks will be located in the same area.
“We want to encourage guests to move down toward the river because it’s so scenic and it’s near the new park that will open next year,” Lehman said.
Along South River Road, the Waterville Historical Society’s museum complex will feature hands-on history activities for kids to churn butter, husk corn, use a ringer washing machine and try other old household items.
“These are things that have gone into the basement or the pages of history,” said WHS president Julia Wiley.
Capturing the overwhelming interest in the recent Haunted Waterville tours, the WHS will have ghost hunter Dave Misko and a team of paranormal investigators on hand at the Sargent House for guests to ask questions. At 5:00 p.m., five lucky winners of a raffle will have an opportunity to accompany them on a paranormal investigation of the Sargent House and Robbins House. Raffle tickets are $5.00 each or three for $10.00 and available online at www.watervillehistory.org or on the day of the festival.
The WHS will also feature a horse and trolley ride to the Roche de Boeuf Interurban Bridge, which is slated for demolition within the next few years.
“This is a great way to see the bridge and learn why we have a Roche de Boeuf Festival. It’s a taste of what you get on the ghost tour but includes a little more history of the path along the river,” Wiley said.
Tickets are $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for children and also available online or at the festival.
Along River Road, see an expansive exhibit of flags that have flown over United States soil from 1492 through the 1970s. Re-enactors will fire a cannon and march while guests can learn about early crafts like weaving and tin punching.
Down the street at Shawn’s Irish Tavern, check out the classic cars and trucks in the daylong car show.
A free shuttle service will deliver patrons who park at Conrad Park next to the library at 800 Michigan Ave. and in Waterville Plaza at 1300 Michigan Ave.
For information, visit www.watervillechamber.com.