WAPAKONETA — It’s like a county fair without the admission price.
The 64th annual St. Joe Festival kicked off Thursday with great weather and a great crowd at the Auglaize County Fairgrounds in Wapakoneta. Along with everyone’s favorite fair food, games and activities for the kids, a beer tent for the adults, and plenty of novelty stands were available for the bargain hunters. The festival continues today.
“Our attendance always varies greatly depending on the weather,” said Tom Vehorn, a past chairman of the event and member of this year’s festival committee. “The weather was great today, and we were able to have a great turnout.”
A tractor and truck pull in the grandstand packed the house. Also, the famous freedom train gave free rides around the fairgrounds. Attendance prizes were being drawn every hour and also prizes were available for other drawings. The attendance drawing was giving away $64 to a lucky winner every hour and more than $50,000 of prizes were available for the raffle.
Events increase today, kicking of with the Wapakoneta Firecracker 5K run at 9 a.m. A poker run sponsored by the Amvets Riders Post 333 begins registration at 11 a.m. and is open to the public. The raffle drawing for the $50,000 in prizes takes place at 1 p.m.
Other events today include bingo, a kiddie tractor pull, a Christian youth concert and square and line dancing. The event closes with fireworks at 11 p.m.
Vehorn said the festival had brought in new providers for the rides this year, D & R Rides from Toledo. He said the company had brought in great rides and was offering very affordable specials so kids could enjoy more rides. Also, the Freedom Colors Military Honors display highlighted area veterans from World War I to present.
“The money raised from the festival goes into the church general fund,” Vehorn said. “The money is used for church ministries.
Vehorn said more than 20 area sponsors donated to provide the fireworks display.