(Posted Aug. 29, 2022)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
The West Jefferson Ox Roast is celebrating its 71st anniversary. Even after all these years, the West Jefferson Community Association (WJCA) is coming up with new attractions for its signature event.
Set for Sept. 3-5 at Garrette Park, the 2022 Ox Roast will offer a beer garden for the first time. The Jefferson Township Fire Department will operate the garden from mid-afternoon through the evening all three days of the festival.
“We’ve talked about having a beer garden for several years and finally decided to add it this year. We’ll see how it goes and, hopefully, we can expand it in the future,” said Jeff Pfeil, WJCA president.
West Jefferson’s parks and recreation department is bringing back an old tradition by hosting a dance at the Ox Roast. Adults and children are welcome. The dance shares the same theme as the parade, Hawaiian Luau. A deejay will provide the music.
Speaking of music, several new-to-the-festival bands are taking the stage. Victorious KayBirds will play soul, rock, blues and more. Our Short Years played at a recent Friday Night Uptown event in West Jefferson; they will perform rock tunes from the 1990s and 2000s at the Ox Roast. For What It’s Worth is another new addition to the lineup. The group plays music from across decades and genres, performing not only the hits but also B-sides, deep cuts and bonus tracks.
Stage entertainment also includes the return of the West Jefferson High School jazz band, MLC Project playing classic rhythm and blues, jazz, funk and rock, and escape artist Michael Griffin.
A pie auction made its debut at last year’s festival. It went well enough last year that it’s back on the schedule this year. Proceeds benefit the Christmas party WJCA throws for senior citizens in the community.
“The auction went well last year. Even though we had rain, it still made over $1,000,” Pfeil said.
Festival organizers decided to stick with inflatables/bounce houses this year, rather than go back to traditional festival rides. They made the switch last year out of necessity when the ride company they hired went out of business before the festival.
“We had quite a bit of success with the inflatables, and it’s cheaper for families and a lot less noise,” Pfeil said, noting that at some festivals, ride bracelets cost $20 to $25. The Ox Roast is charging $10 for its bounce house wrist bracelets.
Of course, the sandwiches for which the festival is named are back on the menu. WJCA purchased 3,000 pounds of beef for the famous Ox Roast sandwiches which will be cooked overnight in an in-ground trench before being put up for sale the last day of the festival.
For more information and a full schedule of events, visit www.westjeffoxroast.org. To volunteer, contact Carol Beachy at West Jefferson Hardware, (614) 879-9036.