Mega Festival off to good start

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 6, 2003

In the hit movie "Field of Dreams," Kevin Costner turned an ordinary corn field into a legendary baseball diamond by following the motto, "Build it and they will come."

With a similar concept in mind, the Tri-State Mega Festival & Fair organizers filled the 40-acre field known as the Ironton Commerce Center at Third and Lorain streets with excited country music fans and some unusual sights, sounds and smells they hope provide something for everyone.

Scattered showers created some mud and flooding on the first day of the five-day event but nearly 30,000 people still came out to support it, organizer Rick Clark said.

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"Everything is going great, except for a little bit of mud," he said. It is supposed to be nice the rest of the week and we are expecting great crowds."

Going on until Sunday night, the event officially kicked off at 11 a.m. Wednesday morning as event organizers and Ironton Mayor Bob Cleary hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

After seeing the festival completely set up, Mayor Cleary said he was impressed with what the organizers have accomplished.

"I have personally been involved with organizing events like this for years," he said. "I think this looks well thought out and put together. People can get any type of food or entertainment they want here this week."

Cleary and Clark both hope all the city's residents will bear with them because of any traffic problems.

"I hope the citizens will be patient with the traffic congestion and inconveniences it may cause," Cleary said. "This will definitely be an economic boon for Ironton."

Clark echoed the mayor's sentiments.

"We are very proud of what we have done and hope the community is as well," he said. "All of our staff has worked very hard to put this together."

Planned as a family event, the weather could not hide the smiles on many children's faces who enjoyed the attractions.

Lilly, 7, and Lexie, 6, Richendollar visited from Ashland with their grandmother. While Lexie said she was partial to the big slide, Lilly could not pick a favorite.

"We like everything," Lilly said. "We got through the mud. At first I did not like it though."

Wednesday's attractions got going with alligator wrestling and frog jumping and culminated with musical performances by popular country acts -- Trick Pony and Joe Nichols.

Trick Pony received five nominations at last month's 38th Annual Country Music Awards including Top Vocal Group, Album Of The Year for "On A Mission," Single Of The Year and Video Of The Year for "Just What I Do."

Many people consider Joe Nichols one of the hottest young country stars who burst on the scene with three singles. Nichols was named Top New Male Vocalist at the Country Music awards. Nichols also received a Grammy nominations for Best Country Album and Best Country Male Vocal Performance.

Lisa Pritchard, Ironton, is a big Nichols fan and enjoyed the show.

"He is new and his music has a lot of feeling," she said. "The things he sings about really hits home."

Despite the mud and the fact that alcohol was being sold in the beer garden, the event went smoothly, said Sgt. Joe Ross of the Ironton Police Department.

For Thursday's Rock Night, all-day musical acts include rock artists the Kiss Army Tribute Band, RA,

Twisted Method and Man Made God.

Daily activities include frog jumping contests at noon and 5 p.m.; a circus at 1 and 6 p.m.; alligator wrestling at 2 and 7 p.m.; a Wild West show at 3 and 8 p.m. and more.

Children under eight years old will be admitted free.

Tickets cost $8 for older children and $10 for adults.

For more information call (606) 833-5881 or visit the Web site at