Waterville Chamber Readying For Roche De Boeuf Festival

The Waterville Historical Society will offer free trolley rides from the River Road campus to the Roche de Boeuf bridge during the Saturday, September 23 festival.

BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — You don’t need to be a politician, business or band to participate in the 50th annual Roche de Boeuf Festival parade and daylong festival.

You can showcase a classic car, demonstrate pioneer arts, help with downtown cleanup or join in on the parade, according to Waterville Chamber of Commerce executive director Jackie Lehman.

The festival is on Saturday, September 23 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in downtown Waterville. 


“We welcome anyone who loves Waterville to grab anything with wheels – a golf cart, wagon or bike – and show community pride by being in the parade,” Lehman said. “It’s a fun and unique way to be a part of the festival.”

The parade steps off at 10:00 a.m. from the top of the hill on Farnsworth Road and heads past an announcer’s booth at the corner of North Third Street before winding around to South River Road to Waterworks Park. 

Donna (Burkert) Grot-haus is organizing a group of Anthony Wayne High School 1963 graduates to be in the parade. The Class of 1983, which is hosting its 40th class reunion that night, will also be participating. So will the Anthony Wayne Marching Generals, Task Force 20, Zenobia Shriners, dance teams, businesses and Waterville council candidates. 

This year’s grand marshals will include those who founded the first Roche de Boeuf Festival in 1974: Annette Blair, Ken Blair, Dave Myerholtz, Ferd Seipel and Diana Waugh.

“This is going to be our biggest parade ever,” declared Lehman, who encourages those interested in participating to email her at admin @watervillechamber.com or visit www.watervillechamber.com. Entries are due by Sunday, September 10.

Children’s Area

The area behind Peddlers Alley will feature interactive games, inflatables, costumed characters and a scavenger hunt, as well as a photo booth with props so families can stop in to create their own memories, said Lisa Exner of the Anthony Wayne Area Arts Commis-sion. Volunteers are welcome to help out.

Nearby, on South Street, youths with the Right Direction will present demonstrations with bikes and ramps.

Rue Des Artistes

The AWAAC will host a Rue des Artistes on North Second Street, with artists’ booths featuring photographs, paintings, jewelry, handmade wood toys, metal art and the Bittersweet Farms mobile unit. Families can stop in to create a wooden tile that will be used to create a large mosaic as a community art project, Exner said. A portion of the proceeds from booth rentals will support the Bittersweet Farms Creative Arts Program.

Classic Cars

Owners of classic cars are invited to drive on down to Shawn’s Irish Tavern between 8:00 and 10:00 a.m. the day of the festival to participate in an annual car show. Dash plaques and trophies will be awarded. For information, visit the chamber website.

Historic Waterville

On South River Road, the Waterville Historical Society has a full lineup of events planned throughout the day, with demonstrations from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in front of the Robbins House. Local historical authors, historical re-enactors and artisans demonstrating arts of the pioneer days will be on-site. 

“If anyone is interested in demonstrating these arts, or if they represent historical sites or organizations, we are happy to have them be part of the program,” noted WHS past president Julia Wiley. “We are always looking for people to join us.”

Throughout the day, guests can see re-enactors in attire from the Civil War, the War of 1812, World War II and Gen. Anthony Wayne’s Legion. Units will also be doing drills with muskets and firing canons on the hour in Parker Square. The WHS will also offer free trolley rides from the Robbins House to the Roche de Boeuf bridge and back. 

Food And Music

Throughout the day, guests can take sustenance from several food trucks scattered through downtown and near the main entertainment stage in the parking lot across from the Columbian House in Parker Square. Live music will be featured throughout the day and adult beverages will be available for those 21 and older.

Roche De Boeuf Eve

The Parker Square stage area will be the setting for a pre-Roche de Boeuf party on Friday, September 22 from 8:00 to 11:00 p.m. Toppermost, a Beatles tribute band, will perform. A beer truck and food trucks will be on-site during the free concert.

The evening’s events are sponsored by Fallen Timbers Family Recreation Center and a portion of the beer sales will support the nonprofit club. Volunteers are also welcome for two-hour shifts. For information, contact Corina Pfleghaar at (419) 297-0511.

The club is also sponsoring a 5K run with Second Sole. A 1K sets off at 5:30 p.m. and a 5K starts at 6:30 p.m. from Parker Square, trailing through downtown and up through Waterworks Park.

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