Mega Fest continues to flourish

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 19, 2003

With a name like the Mega Festival, it should be no surprise that the event continues to grow almost daily.

Organizers for the Tri-State Mega Festival and Fair began working on site at the Ironton Commerce Center last week to lay out the property as they continue to add musical acts and entertainment to the event.

The June 4-8 festival will be hosted at the former Honeywell property on Third and Lorain streets and organizers hope to provide a boost to the local economy, said event organizer Rick Clark.

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"We want to do this for the betterment of the community. It is a major economic boost for the area," Clark, the owner of Clark's Nursery in Coal Grove,

said. "This is a one-of-a kind event. You will never see a festival in this area so large with so much diversity and so much to do for everyone."

In the planning since October, organizers have lined up a variety of attractions including national and regional musical acts of all genres, nearly 200 arts and crafts vendors, a circus, a laser light show, a rave, fair games and rides, NASCAR attractions, alligator wrestlers, a petting zoo, a wild west show, car, truck and motorcycle shows, a magician, a planetarium and more.

Musical acts have been set for each day. Dozens of local acts and national acts will fill the stages. Headliners include country artists Trick Pony, Joe Nichols and Canyon performing June 4.

Rock acts including the Kiss Army Tribute Band, RA,

Twisted Method and Man Made God will play June 5.

BoBa Flex, The Aaron Miller Band and an unconfirmed act will play June 6. Jennifer Hanson, the Don Campbell Band and Jenny Paquette will perform June 7.

Sixpence None the Richer and AM Drive will perform June 8.

Other acts are still subject to be added, Clark said.

Mayor Bob Cleary agreed to issue a permit for the group to use the property but required a $2,000 refundable damage deposit.

This is similar to arrangements with other groups such as parade committees, Ironmasters Days and other events that use city streets or property, Cleary said.

"It appears that their plans are all moving forward," he said. "We have now received permission for them to use for parking the eight acres that the Ohio Department of Transportation owns, which will be a tremendous help."

City employees are preparing to run a water line into the park so organizers can hook into it. This was something the city had planned to do anyway, but just decided to do it a little sooner, Cleary said.

The mayor, the fire department and the police department have signed off on the permit applications that must be submitted to the state for alcohol sales and the fireworks, Cleary said. He said it is no different than giving any of the other festivals such as Ironmasters or the Regatta similar authorization.

A required insurance policy has been drafted and should be finalized Monday, Clark said.

The Ironton City Council has voiced its support for the event but have mentioned concerns about security and parking if the event attracts the 500,000 people that organizers are projecting.

Although unsure if the event will attract these numbers, Mayor Cleary said he thinks the increased traffic flow could help the city.

"I think it would be absolutely wonderful to bring that many people to the city because Ironton has a lot to offer," he said. "Many people may business owners who may see some place they like to locate. Plus, all the money people spend in our stores, gas stations and restaurants is good for the city."

However, Cleary does want residents to be prepared to deal with some possible inconveniences.

"The downside is that I really hope the residents of Ironton realize there may be some difficulty in getting around, but it is only for a week. This is in the best efforts to help the city. It is a golden opportunity for Ironton to shine and show ourselves to our visitors."

Clark said they will hire Wackenhut security, will work with the Ironton and Coal Grove police departments to keep traffic flowing and will also provide their own security and traffic controllers. He said they are also working with local businesses to arrange for additional parking if necessary.

The organizers have pledged to donate $5,000 to the city out of the profits, as well as make donations to local food pantries and charities. Clark said they would like to make it an annual festival if it does well this year.

Tickets cost $8 for children and $10 for adults at the gate. Children under eight years old will be admitted free. Advance tickets are $2 dollars cheaper and are available at select locations in the Tri-State including Casey's Pub, Clark's Nursery in Coal Grove, the Chimney Corner Caf in Ashland, Ky., Ashland Floral and Chris' Guitar Shop.

For more information call, (606) 833-5881 or go online at