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Volunteers for annual festival working hard

Although it's still a few months away, volunteers are already bending over backwards to make this year's Festival of the Hills the best yet.

The fun will take place at Ohio University Southern on September 10 and 11, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

There's still about five months until the festivities begin, but some of the attractions for the 2005 festival have already been lined up.

Mr. Wizard will be on hand with some scientific wonder, as will a live petting zoo and face painting.

King's Daughters Medical Center will provide a slightly more practical service with health checks, and the Briggs Lawrence County Library will provide children's games.

As a special treat for the tots, Saturday will be the festival's Children's Day, where little ones under 12 will be admitted free and receive a bag of popcorn and ticket for a pony ride.

Youngsters aren't the only ones the event coordinators are looking to please. Those who like a little learning with their fun will be happy to hear that the festival will feature Civil War memorabilia, a refurbished hearse belonging to Tom Phillips and Boy Scout troop 106 with their Boy Scout village.

The festival will also offer some untraditional fair for concessions, forgoing elephant ears and cotton candy for homemade chicken and noodles, beans and cornbread and even ostrich burgers.

Volunteers have toiled since January to produce the festival, which celebrates the cultural heritage of Lawrence County. Dott Mayne, a festival volunteer, estimated that over 100 volunteers would put their noses to the grindstone to continue the festival tradition, now in its 19th year.

"We feel like the heritage of Lawrence County is very rich with a lot of history and a lot of our families go way back," Mayne said. "There's so much history connected with it, and we'd like to give that back to the community, particularly the children get a lot out of seeing the things our grandparents did when they were growing up.