Primitive trek to celebrate bicentennial

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Camping under the stars, meals cooked over an open fire, and horses. If this sounds like an episode of the "Wild Wild West," think again.

This weekend Lawrence countians are being invited to step back into time and see how the state's forefathers traveled and lived as they settled the land that is now Ohio.

The Lawrence County Chapter of the Ohio Horseman's Council is having a wagon train to celebrate the state's 200th birthday.

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The wagon train begins Friday evening with a camp-out at the Lawrence County Fairgrounds in Rome Township. Angela Todd, a member of the local chapter of the horseman's council, said 300 people are expected to take part.

"We've had them call from all over Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia," Todd said. "The weather will be a big factor in how many take part. Some people don't want to ride in the rain."

On Saturday, the wagon train pulls up stakes and travels westward along State Route 7 to Chesapeake and then along old U.S. 52 to the Lawrence County Airpark for lunch. The wagon train then will continue to South Point. The South Point Volunteer Fire Department is fixing dinner at South Point that evening. The South Point Fire Department will raffle off a 2003 Honda Recon 250 4-wheeler to raise money for a new rescue truck for the department. Also during the wagon train, the horseman's council is raffling off an Ohio Bicentennial Longaberger basket.

The next morning the wagon train will pull out of South Point after a morning church service.

Using U.S. 52 it will travel into Coal Grove and then proceed to Ironton, where city officials have planned a three-hour mini-festival planned around the wagon train's arrival.

"We're going to open the Ironton Commerce Center for the public to come and see the horses and the wagons and experience a little of what life was like 200 years ago. We'll have concessions available, and there will be a country band playing. It's going to be a great family time," Ironton Mayor Bob Cleary said.

Coca Cola, Pick 'N Save and the Tri-State Mega Festival and Fair are sponsors of the Ironton leg of the wagon train.

After a trip through downtown Ironton along Third, Center and Second streets, the wagon train disbands at Hanging Rock.

It has been more than ten years since the local horseman's council had a wagon train.