Zoar Harvest Festival promises two days of summer fun
by Kyle Valentini
2012 welcomes the 39th annual Zoar Harvest Fest August 4-5 in the historic village that was originally established in 1817 when 200 German Separatists left their native land to seek religious freedom in a new world.
The festival has been a success all these years simply because it offers so much for visitors that are new to the region and those that have made it a part of their late summer tradition that requires a comfortable pair of walking shoes to fully enjoy the village.
Fitness enthusiasts can hike to Zoar from Ft. Laurens in Bolivar along the Ohio and Erie Towpath trail complete with a guide in the popular Hike to Harvest.
More than 60 quality dealers can be found under the tent with some of the finest examples of antiques available for purchase. Peruse their tables to find some familiar and perhaps some not so familiar items to begin a collection or add to an existing one. From furniture to old maps, quilts and collectible china, antique enthusiasts will be thrilled with the selection and knowledgeable dealers.
Lovers of fine art and crafts will enjoy the juried American Folk Arts and Craft Show that takes place throughout the village, as individual artisans share talents that include handmade period crafts available for purchase.
The restored historic buildings are a part of the event and costumed interpreters and artisans making candles and soap, doing laundry, canning, baking, weaving and performing other period tasks will add charm and interest while strolling through the village.
An antique carriage and buggy display will fascinate visitors interested in some of the first forms of transportation. On Sunday a classic car show will delight enthusiasts and stir memories.
Always a favorite, the sheepdog demonstration show is back, as well as the exotic animal petting zoo that has featured zebras, snakes and baby tigers in the past. Tucked comfortably beneath the shade trees visitors can pet, hold and learn more about these rescued creatures.
The gardens will be stunning and offer a respite from the busy shops. Children’s period games will keep the younger set busy while others pause for a moment beneath the Tree of Life at the center of the main garden. Flowers will be blooming and vegetables will be ripe for picking.
Get to the festival early for free horse-drawn carriage rides. Seating is limited but guests never mind waiting and take the opportunity to get to know each other as they wait patiently near the Sewing House for the next ride that will carry them through the streets of this charming 19th century village.
Authentic German food is offered by several local churches and nonprofit organizations and includes bratwurst, sauerkraut, German-style potato salad, pulled pork sandwiches and some of the most delicious homemade ice cream around. Tasty salty sweet kettle corn and corn on the cob epitomize the taste of summer and is always popular with visitors.
Kids will enjoy the big slide in front of the school house, while the grown-ups settle in for a cold beverage. Live music takes place all weekend long and features a variety of talent and styles.
Whitemyer Advertising, Inc., a longtime business in the village, sponsors the 11th annual Zoar Art Contest, to be held during the festival. The competition showcases amateur and professional artists, high school level and older, that have created original art that depicts Zoar.
Sponsored by the Zoar Community Association, all proceeds from the Harvest Festival are used to preserve the historic village. For more information, call 330-874-2646 or visit the website at www.zca.org.