The annual Betty Zane Days planned

Bridgeport volunteer firefighters Tyler Lenz, left, and John Anderson work hard during the Firefighter Water Battle in Martins Ferry two years ago. T-L File Photo/ Shelley Hanson

MARTINS FERRY — The Martins Ferry Volunteer Fire Department will host its annual Betty Zane Days from Aug. 2-5 in the City Park.

The park will be full of fun activities from 5-10 p.m. on Aug. 2-4 and from noon to 5 p.m. and 6-11 p.m. on Aug 5.

The event will feature a variety of family-friendly entertainment including inflatables, craft vendors, concessions, a 5K run/walk, games, a parade, a water battle and fireworks.

The event is free to the public, but those who wish to emter the inflatables must buy a $10 wristband for the day.

The annual 5K run/walk will take place at 6 p.m. on Aug. 2. Those who wish to participate can pick up applications at Total Sports Connection or at the high school. Easystreet Band will also be performing from 6-10 p.m.

Twice as Nice, a band from Wheeling, will be performing on Aug. 3.

The cornhole tournament will take place from 6:30-11 p.m. Aug. 4 next to the park. Registration for the tournament will take place from 5-6:30 p.m. There is a cost to participate, and each player is guaranteed to play in four games. A blind draw will determine who will compete in each game. Players must bring their own corn bags.

Still Kickin, a band from Wheeling, will perform from 7-10 p.m. Aug. 4 in the park. The band plays a variety of music from the ’50s to the ’80s and some new music.

The Martins Ferry Volunteer Fire Department will be holding its annual Betty Zane Days parade and water battle on Aug. 5. Lineup for the parade will start at 11 a.m. at the intersection of Center and Main streets, and the parade will start at noon.

The annual firefighter water battle will follow the parade, and teams of three to four people can compete. Participants must have eye protection, a helmet, gloves and closed-toe shoes. Waivers will be provided on the morning of Aug. 5 for participants to sign. The winning team will receive $300, and the team that comes in second place will receive $200. The water battle is sponsored by Unified Bank.

American Legion Post 38 in Martins Ferry will sponsor free wristbands for all children 12 and under who attend the event from noon to 5 p.m.

Bedrock, a band from southern Florida, will be performing rock classics starting at 7 p.m. on Aug. 5. The band is made up of all professional musicians, most of whom have extensive stage and touring experience across the country.

Fire Chief Tom Kelly said that he expects the park to be packed during their performance. “They’re a really great band from Florida. They opened for Eddie Money, so it’s a big deal. The band flew in already, and they’re all excited to perform,” he said.

The festivities will come to an end with a fireworks display after dusk on Aug. 5.

Vendors who wish to participate in the event must pay a registration fee for each 10 by 10-foot space. All proceeds will support the Martins Ferry Volunteer Fire Department.

Kelly said that he has been organizing the event for the past 24 years.

“We wouldn’t be able to do this without the support of small businesses,” Kelly said.

Kelly said that a lot of work goes into planning Betty Zane Days every year.

“As soon as it’s over, we start planning for next year,” he said.

The festival’s namesake, Elizabeth “Betty” Zane, is known as the heroine of the Battle of Fort Henry. Betty Zane Days was launched in Martins Ferry to commemorate Zane’s courageous act during the Revolutionary War, when it is said that she volunteered to retrieve gunpowder by braving enemy fire outside the fort in 1782. She was able to resupply the defenders of Fort Henry at the site of present-day Wheeling. Zane later married and moved to Martins Ferry, where she and several family members are buried at Walnut Grove Cemetery.


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