Festival attracts big crowd

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Thousands of people from across the Tri-State and beyond visited downtown Ironton over the weekend, prompting organizers to call this year's Ironmaster Days festival one of the most successful ever.

In its the seventh year, the annual event sponsored by the Ironton Business Association, used musical entertainment, an antique tractor and engine show, a car show, vendors, children's entertainment and more to draw many people to downtown.

"We had some of the biggest crowds we have ever had since I have been involved," said Richard Patrick, IBA vice president, who is in his second year of involvement. "I have heard estimates for Saturday evening alone that range from 1,500 to 3,000 people."

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Mayor John Elam said the event is a tremendous benefit for the city and the entire community.

"There were more tractors than I have ever seen," Elam said. "It was a good family event, the success of which can be contributed to (IBA President) Pat Murphy, the IBA and a group of individuals who worked hard to make it such a safe and successful event."

As an organizer for the tractor and engine show, Don Mootz saw firsthand how the event has grown, now drawing more than 120 exhibitors.

"It was very successful. It was the biggest we have ever had as far as visitors," Mootz said. "We had more exhibitors than we had in the past, too. We had perfect weather and just really enjoyed it."

Downtown business owner Joe Unger was named as the Ironmaster honoree.

Many vendors said business increased significantly from last year and that they are looking forward to returning, Patrick said.

Elam and Patrick agreed that everyone was excited to keep the momentum going and build on the success.

"I think people say what a good festival it has become," Elam said. "I talked to a lot of people who are already looking forward to helping next year. I know the IBA is already making plans for an even bigger and more successful event next year."