(Posted June 14, 2021)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
After a year away, Summer Jam returns to downtown Mount Sterling June 17-19. (See schedule below.)
“Especially after COVID, it’s just nice to have the opportunity to get out with your children and let them have fun and to walk through the downtown streets safely,” said Becky Martin, a member of the Mount Sterling Chamber of Commerce, the festival’s host. “All of the shops will be open. There will be rides and food trucks and entertainment. It’s going to be a fun, festive atmosphere.”
All the action will take place on London Street between Church and Columbus streets and on Main Street one block to the east and one block to the west of London Street.
Hammer Time Pub, 27 S. London St., is sponsoring live music each night. Bands will play on the street in front of the pub. Seating options include a roped off area directly outside the pub where alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages can be purchased. Festival goers are welcome to bring lawn chairs for the general seating area in front of the stage. The pub is setting up bleachers, too.
The Diamond Brothers will play music from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s on Thursday night. Super Pretty Fabulous will perform “a cornucopia of rock music from the 70s to now” on Friday night. The Firebirds will round out the weekend, performing a wide variety of music on Saturday night. Earlier that day, Hammer Time is sponsoring kids’ karaoke.
Along with the music, contests and competitions are a big part of Summer Jam. Teams of two can sign up for the corn hole tournament set for Friday night. The entry fee is $10 per team. Prizes will be awarded.
Baby and royalty contests for children ages 0 to 18 years old are planned. On Thursday, Junior Miss (ages 11-13) and Miss (ages 14-18) contestants will compete. On Saturday, the focus is on: boys and girls (0-6 months, 7-12 months, 13-18 months, 19-24 months, 25-47 months); princes and princesses (4 years old), Mr. Summer Jam (5- and 6-year-olds), Little Miss (5- to 7-year-olds), and Young Miss (8- to 10-year-olds).
Pageant applications can be picked up at Urban Pineapple, 15-19 N. London St., or requested by contacting organizer Jessica Ernst at email@example.com or (614) 270-1793. Entry fees are $10 for ages 3 years old and younger and $15 for ages 4 to 18 years old.
Several free contests are scheduled for Saturday. Kountry Klippings Pet Grooming, 46 N. London St., is sponsoring a pet costume contest. Entrants must register at the grooming shop by 2:30 p.m. Pets should be dressed in summer clothes. Mad Hatter is sponsoring a bike decorating contest with a patriotic theme. Age groups are 1-4, 5-8, and 9-12 with a trophy going to each age group winner and gift bags to all entrants. Masonic Lodge 269 will be awarding prizes to the winners of a hot dog eating contest.
On Saturday afternoon, Mount Sterling’s parks and recreation department will teach children about fishing, providing them with educational materials and helping them to practice casting into hula hoops on the town hall lawn. Thanks to grant funding, the village is giving away rods and reels, and participants have the chance to win fishing-related prizes, such as nets, lanterns, hats and flashlights.
For those who want to test their aim and throwing arms, Mount Sterling Eagles Youth League is manning a dunk tank on Saturday. On the creative side of things, children and adults can make and take miniature island beach gardens outside of Mad Hatter, 17 E. Main St., on Saturday. The cost is $10. Gardener Christy Pearl is providing soil, sand, rocks, decorations and plants.
Prior to opening ceremonies on Thursday, the Ohio Department of Agriculture will hold a press conference at 11 a.m. to bring awareness to Tyler’s Law which takes steps to modernize safety inspection standards for amusement rides and helps to ensure that qualified ride inspectors are hired. The law is named after Tyler Jarrell who died while on an amusement ride at the Ohio State Fair in 2017. ODA representatives will include Albanese Amusements & Entertainments, the Newark company providing Summer Jam’s rides, in the press conference.
New this year, the festival is offering $12 wristbands good for unlimited rides from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday.
The festival schedule is as follows:
Thursday, June 17
5 p.m.–Flag raising ceremony by the American Legion and National Anthem sung by Mount Sterling resident Lucas Anthony (town hall lawn)
5 p.m.–Rides, vendor market, food trucks, and outdoor seating open at Hammer Time Pub
6 p.m.–Junior Miss and Miss contest
7-10 p.m.–The Diamond Brothers band (stage in front of Hammer Time Pub)
10 p.m.–Festival closes
Friday, June 18
5 p.m.–Rides, vendor market, food trucks, and outdoor seating open at Hammer Time Pub (seating might open earlier)
5-8 p.m.–Shop Hop (participating downtown businesses)
7-9 p.m.–Corn hole contest (town hall lawn, register at 6:45)
7-10 p.m.–Super Pretty Fabulous band (stage in front of Hammer Time Pub)
10 p.m.–Festival closes
Saturday, June 19
Noon–Rides, vendor market, food trucks, and outdoor seating open at Hammer Time Pub
Noon–Baby contest followed by royalty contests
Noon-4 p.m.–Island beach garden make-and-take (beside Mad Hatter)
2 p.m.–Bike decorating contest (town hall lawn, register at 1:45)
3 p.m.–Pet costume contest (town hall lawn, register at 2:30)
3-5 p.m.–Kids karaoke (stage in front of Hammer Time Pub)
3-6 p.m.–Parks & Rec’s Hooked on Fishing (Town Hall Lawn)
4-5 p.m.–Rides closed for one hour per state mandate
4 p.m.–Hot dog eating contest (town hall
5 p.m.–Rides reopen
7-10 p.m.–The Firebirds band (stage in front of Hammer Time Pub)
10 p.m.–Festival closes.