FORT JENNINGS — The families of four men killed here in a 1942 World War II bomber crash will be in Fort Jennings this weekend for the unveiling of a historical marker during Fort Fest, which is returning after a brief hiatus in 2020.
The military tribute festival celebrates the town’s history as a military outpost during the War of 1812, for a weekend of car shows, helicopter rides, war re-enactments and other patriotic festivities in downtown Fort Jennings.
This year, Fort Fest will pay tribute to the seven men who died here when a mechanical failure downed a B-26 bomber in a Jennings Township field during World War II. Their remains were never recovered, but Fort Jennings will soon be home to a historical marker recognizing their lives, according to an event press release.
Families of four of the men will be in town when the historical marker is unveiled at 6 p.m. Saturday in Memorial Hall, 360 N. Water St., Fort Jennings. A ceremony will also be held at 1 p.m. Sunday at County Road S and Road 19 in Jennings Township, the site of the crash, to close out the festival.
Visitors who stop by downtown Fort Jennings this weekend will be greeted by endless patriotic displays: tributes to the unknown soldier, Ohio’s hometown heroes and prisoners of war; a miniature Vietnam War Memorial in Fort Jennings Park or the Eyes of Freedom traveling memorial to fallen Marines and Navy Corpsmen of the Lima Company.
Then there’s the 1812 Village, open all weekend alongside the Wolfhounds and Black Lions Vietnam War camps, vintage military vehicles and Cold War or 1812-era tavern demonstrations in the park. And there will be plenty of live period re-enactments, like Friday evening’s War of 1812 twilight re-enactment, one of the festival’s highlights.
Visitors can even catch a glimpse of Vietnam-era aircraft, which will be escorted into town Friday courtesy of American Huey 369. The public will have an opportunity to sign up for membership flights or simply take a look at the Medevac “Slick” and Huey Gunship on display.
A classic car cruise-in Friday will play host to local breweries and wineries at the Fort Fest Barrels and Brews Wine and Craft Beer event. Classic fair food will also be on sale for those looking for a bite to eat.
Visitors will even have the chance to win $15,000 in cash, guns and prizes all weekend, according to the press release.
Live entertainment this year comes from the Naked Karate Girls and Nashville artists Kristen Kelly, Kyle Mercer and Tim Baumgartner.