Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 6, 2010

Think there’s nothing to do this summer without getting in a car and leaving Lawrence County? Think again. From basketball to motorcycles to fairground fun, there’s lots to do even if you stay close to home.

Gus Macker

Each year street basketball enthusiasts converge on downtown Ironton for a weekend of hoops action. The annual Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament is June 12-13. It is organized each year by the Friends of Ironton, along with numerous corporate sponsors. FOI President Rick Jansen estimated 750 to 900 players will participate in the weekend event, another 6,000-7,000 people will stand on the sidelines. Gus Macker even draws spectators who aren’t typical sports enthusiasts.

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“It’s pretty exciting to watch the kids get out there and play,” Jansen said. “Its fun for the kids, it’s a good, festival atmosphere and it’s a good way for people to connect after working all the time.”

The winners take home trophies and bragging rights. Want more information about Gus Macker? The official Web site is www.irontongusmacker.com.

Family Fun Days

Each year the village of Coal Grove rolls out the welcome mat for the rest of the Tri-State and this year is no exception.

The annual Family Fun Days, July 1-3, offers games and activities for kids and adults, live entertainment and a cake and pie auction that may well be the signature event of the weekend.

“We’ve made as much as $200 on some items,” Coal Grove Betterment Club member Carol Gool said.

Another attention-getter is the Chinese auction. Participants pay $1 for the chance to win a themed basket.

One new addition this year: The Huntington Harmonica Club of Huntington, W.Va., is on the entertainment lineup. The harmonica club performed during the Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade.

The opening ceremony will be 4 p.m. July 1 at Paul Porter Park. The festival is 4-10 p.m. each evening. It is sponsored by the betterment club and the Village of Coal Grove.

“This is fun for the whole family,” Gool said. “And it’s something people look forward to every year. There is something for everyone.”

Lawrence County Junior Fair

It is often called Lawrence County’s homecoming because so many of its residents make the pilgrimage each year to attend.

The Lawrence County Junior Fair will be July 10-17 in Rome Township.

For hundreds of Lawrence County young people, the fair promises recognition for a job well done. Honors are awarded in numerous livestock, home economics and consumer science categories.

Each night there is entertainment. It begins Saturday, July 10 with the 7 p.m. demolition derby. At 8 p.m. Sunday, July 11 is the motocross show. The kiddie tractor pull is the featured event at 8 p.m. Monday July 12. The tough truck competition is at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 13.

On Wednesday, local groups will compete for the top spot in the battle of the bands. The competition begins at 7 p.m. At 7:30 p.m. Thursday is the winner round of the battle of the bands.

The band showdown will be followed by country music performer Jamey Johnson in concert at 8:45 p.m.

Want more information about the fair?

Check out the new Web site at www.lawrencecountyohiofair.com.

River tour

Organizers say it is back by popular demand — quite literally.

The Southern Summer Night Rolling On The River, sponsored by the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization, will be Friday, July 30.

It offers dining and entertainment aboard the famed Cincinnati Belle.

“Everyone who has ever gone has had a wonderful time,” said Joan Terry, assistant to the director for the CAO. “We’ve had people ask us, say to us, ‘you are having it again, aren’t you?’ So yes, we’re having the cruise again.”

One change this year: there will be live entertainment on all three decks. The first deck will have a casino theme with prizes. The Fugitives will play on another deck while jazz and blues music will be featured on a third deck.

More than 400 people took the tour last year. Boarding time is 6-7 p.m. The cruise will be 7-11 p.m. and will take guests on a leisurely excursion from Ironton to the Greenup, Ky., locks and dam and then home again.

The cruise raises money for several CAO programs.

“This is a benefit,” Terry said. “This raises money for the Ironton-Lawrence County CAO Benefit Fund. We have programs and things that are not covered by grants and this helps with extra money for these programs.”

For more information call Terry at 532-3534.

Museum offerings

The Lawrence County Historical Museum has a little something for everyone this summer and early fall.

On June 19 the Ironton Garden Club will present helpful hints with flower beds. The flower lecture is at 1 p.m.

On July 24, the historical society will host a 6 p.m. ice cream social. There will be musical guests for the afternoon event.

One of the biggies on the museum calendar each year in the annual Woodland Cemetery Historical Walk set for 6 p.m. Sept. 25.

Each year historical society members and other volunteers don period costumes and tell the stories of the long-departed who helped make Lawrence County what it is today.

The cemetery walk, sometimes called the ghost walk, begins at 6 p.m. The truly curious may meet some of the characters in a preview from 1-4 p.m. Aug. 21.

Rally on the River

The seventh annual Rally on the River will be Aug. 19-22 in downtown Ironton.

Each year the event promises both music entertainment and the opportunity for motorcycle enthusiasts to meet and greet. This year’s entertainment lineup will include a concert by a national headline act. Jansen said an official announcement will come later this summer.

“It’s a huge, huge band,” Jansen said. “It’s pretty exciting and we’re thrilled to death they’re coming.”

The entertainment lineup also includes country group Blackberry Smoke (7-9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 20), The Earthquakers (6-9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 21), and Unknown Hinson, a rockabilly group 9:30-12:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 21).

Jansen estimated the rally will draw up to 35,000 visitors during the four-day event. Think that’s too high? Jansen doesn’t.

“Last year you couldn’t get a hotel room anywhere from Huntington to outside Portsmouth,” Jansen said. “They were packed all over Ashland, Huntington, Wheelersburg. It’s pretty exciting.”

There will also be food booths and vendors that cater to the motorcycle enthusiasts, beer gardens and poker runs.

The official Web site is www.rallyontheriver.com.


Chesapeake’s Oktoberfest is Oct. 9 at Triangle Park.

The activities begin at 8 a.m. with a distance run followed by opening ceremonies at 9 a.m. and the annual fire parade and the car show.

There will be inflatables, entertainment, crafts and of course, food, everything from cotton candy to steak sandwiches to ice cream to soup beans and cornbread.

“We have a lot of vendors,” Chesapeake Mayor Dick Gilpin said. He chairs the event.

“It’s sort of like a summer family gathering before winter sets in,” Gilpin said. “It’s where people come and see people they haven’t seen in a while.”

Chesy’s Oktoberfest is 8 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information call Gilpin at 867-3131.