#039;Hills#039; are alive with festival fun

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Shawn White, 11, and Billy Zigler, 12, had quite a problem on their hands.

Ironton's Festival of the Hills was about to end its first day in just a half-hour and the boys still had so much they needed to see.

"It's awesome, they've got all this stuff around here to do," said Zigler as he swept his hand in a wide gesture at the dozens of tents that made up the festival activities.

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"Yeah, they've got rockets, and all of them old cars," White said.

It is understandable the Ironton boys had so much on their plate. The Festival of the Hills takes its name quite literally, offering a diverse number of activities and exhibits. Activities continue today.

Crafts are a large focus of the festival, from stands that let children create and buy their own pieces of bead artwork to handmade frames.

History was as present as always with Civil War exhibits and, as has become a custom, Tom Phillip's antique refurbished hearse.

The rockets that White enjoyed so much were actually fired off with a purpose. It was just one of the tricks under the hat of OUS' "Science Wizard" Dr. Robert Culp, who uses flash to teach scientific principles.

Culp should be a familiar face to regular attendees of the festival, now in its 19th year. In fact, repeat visitors seem to be the rule rather than the exception.

Dee Rath of Ironton was demonstrating her pottery skills, as well as selling a few pieces, in what she guessed to be her eighth festival as a craft exhibitor.

"I really like talking to people and showing them what I do," Rath said, as she began to work a lump of wet clay in her hands.

"It's something to do in Ironton, it's a regular thing, but I think they have new and different things. It also showcases the talents of local people, gives everybody a nice day out, gives them a chance to see their neighbors and meet new people. It's just good all around."

On an adjacent bench, Coal Grove's Josie Reynolds, 14, watched Rath continue to hone her craft as the young girl secretly shirked her duties.

"I watched her Š and I didn't help out with the Boy Scouts like I was supposed to," Josie said. "I'll be (part of Scouting group) The Venturers next year, so I'll have to help with trash."

Rath was especially captivating to Reynolds, who has her own mechanical pottery wheel at home.

Meanwhile, White and Zigler had seen much that the festival had to offer, but had found their fun hampered by a lack of funding.

"We're going to go home and get some money and come back," White said with a sly grin.

The boys knew they would buy one of the countless trinkets being offered at the festival - they just weren't sure which ones yet.

"No, there's too many choices," Zigler said, before running off to enjoy the last few minutes of festival fun.