CHESTER — There was something fun for everyone at the annual Chester Shade Days festival Saturday which featured a variety of competitions and contests, along with lots of gospel music, flavorful foods, and historic displays.
Always a highlight of the festival is the competition for the title of Ohio’s Champion Harmonica Player which this year went to 16-year-old Garrison Hagler of Powell. Second place winner was Ivan Lindsey of Delaware, last year’s champion. Third place was won by Jim Rambaugh of Huntington, W.Va. and fourth to Ray Stith of Point Pleasant, W. Va.
For this 15th anniversary of the harmonica championship contest, the Home National Bank of Racine donated money for the cash prizes and t-shirts which went to the winners. The prizes were $300 for first, $150 for second, $75 for third, and $25 for fourth.
An old fashioned sing-along with the harmonica players being joined by members of the Buckeye State Harmonica Club of Columbus,was held under the tent pitched on The Commons near the 1823 restored Chester Courthouse. The day also featured an afternoon of gospel music from about 10 different groups.
Holding to tradition, “Meigs Finest, ” the oldest man and oldest woman attending, were recognized and presented certificates. They were John Bailey who will be 100 on Aug. 31, and Cleo Smith, who was celebrating her 83rd birthday that day. They each received as a gift a book of their own selection from the collection of C. Stephen Badgley, a former Meigs County native, who has Badgley Publishing Co. in Canal Winchester, and a gift of apple butter from Pat Holter who was in charge of the contest.
Chloe Bissell took first place in the “best dog” contest with her dog Jack, a golden doodle. She received $25 and a blue ribbon.
Cornhole contests were held for both kids and adult with cash prizes going to the winners. Conner Ridenour and Wyatt Bissell were the top winners in the kids’ contest. In the adult contest, the prize winners were first place, Jarrod Hill and Bill Kinzler; second prize, Marvin White and Clyde Sayre, and third place, Pat Letson and Frank Montgomery.
New to the lineup of contests this year was the chain saw contest with Jamie Ewing in charge. The winners, listed first through fourth in their respective categories of competition were as follows:
Stock Appearing Class: Jerry Leeth, Peebles; Harry Boedeker, Zanesville; Mark Goeglein, Coolville; Brett Milhoan, Pomeroy. Eight competed in that class.
Modified Class: Mark Goeglein, Coolville; Mike Goeglein, Long Bottom; Marc Smith, Pomeroy, and Harry Boedeker, Zanesville, with seven competing.
Displays on the Commons included those of Ed Gilliam with wood crafted items, and Marvin White making brooms of every kind and size. In the Courthouse were Bob Graham and John Bentley with an impressive display of Civil War coins, including a 1862 first year issue of legal tender by the U. S. government, some original Confederate money, along with bullets retrieved from the Gettysburg battlefield. Also included in the display was a copy of the Meigs County Telegraph of Pomeroy newspaper of June 27, 1870 featuring a story on the Civil War monument on the Courthouse lawn.
Other feature displays included arrowhead jewelry made by Troy Bearhs, and a collection of arrow heads and old bottles made in Pomeroy in 1860-1870 belonging to Jason Arnold.
The traditional Civil War ball was not held this year, but will be returning for the celebration of the Civil War sesquicentennial next year, according to the Chester-Shade Days committee.