By Brandon Dumsky
Today marks the debut of the new Sugar Creek festival: Wayne City Landing Days.
From Aug. 7 through Aug. 9, the festival commemorates Sugar Creek as one of the first riverboat ports west of the Mississippi River and the only location in the country where four National Historic trails overlap. It features nearly 40 food and craft booths, 18 carnival rides and attractions that include a seven-story Ferris Wheel, a variety of country-western musical acts and a multitude of old-time contests, as well as shuttle rides to visit the actual Wayne City Landing site.
"It's going to be larger than our Slavic Festival," said Sugar Creek Mayor Matthew Mallinson. "The city wanted to bring Wayne City Landing to light for citizens."
The festival is being held at Roper Stadium, 131 S. Carlisle Avenue in downtown Sugar Creek. Admission is free to attend Landing Days. However, carnival attractions will cost a certain number of tickets, which run a dollar apiece. Craft and food vendors are located adjacent to the carnival grounds, across from Kentucky Avenue.
The festivities begin at 9 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. Booths, contests and live dance and music performances will be offered from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day of the festival. The carnival will be open every evening, from 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday.
Free satellite parking is being offered at Sugar Creek Elementary School, 11424 Gill St., Abraham Mallinson Elementary School, 709 N. Forest Ave., and the Mike Onka Memorial Building, 11525 Putnam Road. A shuttle service is being provided to take visitors to and from those parking lots. Parking along Sterling Avenue in downtown Sugar Creek will also be available.
Time period activities for children, such as outhouse and potato sack races, will be available throughout each of the three festival days from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Also, an adult beverage garden will be open only in the evening during the live music performances.
A free shuttle is being offered at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. Thursday and Friday that allows festival attendees to visit the actual Wayne City Landing historical site a couple miles away from the fair grounds at North River Boulevard.
Also being featured at the festival are the "Twilight Tours." William Chrisman High School theater students will portray authentic westward travelers of the early 19th century at the Wayne City Landing site, said Audrey Elder. She added the students have been extensively researching the journals of actual travelers who passed through the historic trading post en route to the American West. The re-enactments are slated for Thursday and Friday at 8 and 8:30 p.m. each night. Each performance costs $10 per person, and 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit the William Chrisman High School theater program, said Elder. The price of admission also includes a shuttle ride, located at the festival's information booth, to take patrons to the Wayne City Landing bluff, where the re-enactments will be performed.
Mallinson said Wayne City Landing Days recognizes a time period that is now forgotten.
"Hundreds of thousands of people started their travels (to the Great American West) by dis-embarking from a steamship to challenge the unknown," he said. "This was the greatest voluntary migration in our country's history and it all began here in Sugar Creek. Friends, family, fun and education, the Wayne City Landing Days has it all."
• Delisa Dawn & Route 66 - 7 p.m.
• Honkytonk Renovators - 7 p.m. • Selle Brothers - 8 p.m.
• Phil Vandel Band - 7 p.m. • Outlaw Jim and the Whiskey Benders - 9 p.m.
• Turkey Calling Contest - 10 a.m. • Yodeling Contest - 1 p.m. • Yo-yo Contest - 4 p.m. • Pie Baking Contest - 10 a.m. (Check-in and deliver pies to Sugar Creek City Hall, 103 S. Sterling before 9:30 a.m. on the day of the contest.) • Homegrown Vegetables Contest - 1 p.m. (Judging will be on most unusual shape and largest. Must be grown locally.)
• Outhouse races - 9 a.m. • Cow Chip Toss - 10 a.m. • Woodcarving - 11 a.m. • Costume Contest - 1 p.m. • Auctioneer Contest - 3 p.m. • Mr. Legs Contest - 3:30 p.m. (A curtain on the Community Stage will only show a leg. Judged on shape, size and muscle.) • Homemade Wine Contest - 10 a.m. • Homemade Beer Contest - 1 p.m.
Also • Beer garden - Saturday, 2 to 11 p.m.