WEST LIBERTY – The 51st annual West Liberty Lions Club Labor Day Festival begins today and continues through Monday.
Bingo starts the event today at 8 p.m. Full activities begin Saturday and continue through the entire holiday weekend. (See schedule of events below.)
Activities for the weekend include a parade, lawnmower and go-cart races, antique tractor pull, community church service, chicken BBQ, children’s tractor pull, bingo and ball games. There will be lots of music, with performers such as Michael Fittro, the West Liberty-Salem band, a jazz band, The Muleskinner Band, Jim Greer and the Mac-O-Chee Valley Folks, Jack Fox, The Groove, Logan County Dulcimers, Unto Him, and Love and Outcome.
There are many food and beverage vendors to choose from. There will be exhibitors, displays, flea market, crafts, antique equipment show, antique tractor show and duck races down the Mad River. Admission is free, no pets are allowed and no unauthorized motor vehicles permitted.
Jay and Kathy King are parade grand marshals
The festival parade is Saturday at noon. Jay and Kathy King, this year’s grand marshals, are well known in West Liberty for their many years of involvement with Marie’s Candies.
Jay was born to Winfred and Marie (Yoder) King on February 18, 1942. Just prior to Jay’s birth, Winfred, a farmer, became paralyzed by polio. Out of their hardship, Marie and Winfred created a homemade candy business in their country kitchen. Jay and his two brothers, Joe and Dan, grew up working at neighboring farms and helping with Marie’s Candies. In addition to working hard, Jay was also a part of the Salem boys’ basketball state championship team in 1960. After high school, Jay spent one year at Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana before doing two years of 1W service at Evanston Hospital in Evanston, Illinois.
Kathy was born to Herbert and Marcene (Garmatter) Traucht on August 19, 1943. Herb spent his working years as a teacher and later a salesman for Nationwide Insurance. Marcene cared for Kathy and her three brothers, Al, Greg, and Kevin. After high school, Kathy received a three-year nursing degree from the Mennonite Hospital School of Nursing in Bloomington, Illinois.
Jay and Kathy met at a Christmas caroling church event in 1959. They were married October 10, 1964. They have three children (son Seth [Julie], son Shannon [Amber], daughter Rebecca [Michael]) and 10 grandchildren. Jay spent his early working years with Hostetler Construction and Notestine Floor Covering. Kathy worked as a nurse for approximately 17 years. In 1972, they moved to Schroon Lake, New York to study at Word of Life Bible Institute. The goal of becoming missionaries quickly changed when Winfred died and Marie lost heart for the candy business. Jay and Kathy returned to West Liberty to help Marie and took ownership of Marie’s Candies in 1976. Some of their favorite times as owners of Marie’s Candies include a successful second store in Bellefontaine, Ohio from 1984-1996, their purchase and restoration of the West Liberty train depot, the many opportunities to attend national and international candy conventions, and working with two of their children, the third generation of Marie’s Candies, Shannon and Rebecca.
Over the years, Jay has also contributed to West Liberty by serving on various committees and boards including the West Liberty Town Council, West Liberty-Salem School Board, the West Liberty Town Hall Committee, and Green Hills Community Board. Kathy has been a 40-year member of the West Liberty Tourist Club. They are both members of Grace Chapel Church and have served there in various ways during the past 50 years. If you don’t find them at Marie’s Candies, they’re probably reading a good book at the beach.
2016 Labor Day Entertainment Schedule
8 p.m. Bingo
11 a.m. Roast Beef Dinner -main food tent
Michael Fittro- local musician- main stage
Noon – Parade
2:3 p.m. WL-S Band (main ball diamond-main stage)
4 p.m. The Muleskinner Band- main stage
3 p.m. Lawn mower racing & Go-Kart Racing – pulling track
3:15 p.m. Square dancing
5 p.m. Ice Cream Social-food tent
5:30 p.m. Majesty’s Quartet (formally Unto Him)- Main Stage
7 p.m. Jack Fox Band- Main stage
8 p.m. Bingo
9 p.m. The Groove- Sponsored by Peoples Savings & Loan Co. (bring lawn chairs)
Noon – Antique tractor pull-pulling track
2 p.m. Logan County Dulcimer’s- food tent
6 p.m. Community church service- food tent
7 p.m. Citizen’s Way-sponsored by Shine FM and Cole-Pak (bring lawn chairs)
8 p.m. Bingo
10:30 a.m. Kiddie Pedal Tractor Pull
11 a.m. Chicken Bar-B-Que
Noon – Willie Yoder’s famous Tug of War- Onion Creek
All Day- Ball games
Wheat thrashing- Daily
Kiddie games- Daily
Duck races- Daily
Tractor teeter-totter- daily at the pulling track
Kid area features:
Variety of children;s games