Betty Zane Days to stay in August

MARTINS FERRY – The Betty Zane Days Festival will be held in Aug. after all.

Festival co-chair Tom Regis with the Martins Ferry Volunteer Fire Department confirmed that the festival will be held Aug. 7-11 as originally intended.

Recently, Regis had to announce the festival was moving to the final week of June after amusement company Deschler Amusements told the department it had another commitment for the week of Aug. 7-11.

The only dates available were the last week of June or early September, the latter of which was not ideal given students return to school.

Now, all is right with the world.

“It’s back to August,” Regis said. “Deschler called us (Wednesday) and said they have everything moved around and our original dates were available.

“I believe this is our third or fourth year using them for the carnival.”

Regis said vendors and other groups associated with the festival were scrambling to make changes to their own schedules. Most were able to accommodate the change. However, some vendors may have been left out.

No longer a problem.

“There were a few that were questionable because of prior commitments, but now, everyone is in good shape,” Regis said.

Deshler will bring around 13 rides and 16 trailers consisting of food vendors and games. Regis noted they cram a lot of fun into the space limitations unique to the park.

As in the past, advance tickets will be available for sale for $10. Tickets will be $15 at the gate.

Deshler itself doesn’t offer all-week ride passes for Betty Zane Days but Regis noted that if some corporate sponsors wished to step up and help out, the department could offer week-long passes for a slight discount.

With the kids entertainment secure, the festival committee has turned its eyes to keeping the adults entertained as well.

Both the car show and 5K run and walk return. Regis noted the race generally averages around 180 participants. Last year, the race featured a little more than 300, its biggest turnout.

The department is again looking for anyone to possibly help out with putting the Miss Betty Zane pageant back on.

They have also solicited any and all ideas from residents looking for something new.

One of the best ideas may actually be reviving an old tradition, a swim meet at the nearby city pool during the festival.

Two acts have already been line up to the take stage with D.J. Daner to spin hits on Tuesday, Aug. 7 and crowd favorite Smokedaddy and the Crawfish to play Friday, Aug. 10.

This year is also the 125th anniversary for the Martins Ferry Fire Department. Regis noted that while the department is planning a separate celebration, possibly in December, something will take place during Betty Zane Days to honor the anniversary date.

A mushball tournament was held for the first time last summer and was met with an overwhelmingly positive response.

That is returning. Regis added he hoped to expand the tournament, possibly have a fire division or even public safety division to get other local departments involved.

Also returning is the second annual Police vs. Fire softball game. Last year, Police Chief John McFarland’s boys in blue captured a 9-1 victory. The police won the traveling trophy and the fire department put on a charitable carwash in defeat.

“He already has his team training,” Regis joked of McFarland. “I think I saw him hitting balls the other day out in the snow.”

More announcements will be available in the coming months, including food vendors, further entertainment and possibly some other surprises Regis failed to elaborate on for now.

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