New entertainment features planned for Ox Roast

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(Posted Aug. 30, 2021)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

The West Jefferson Community Association hopes to hit a homerun after being thrown a curveball for this year’s Ox Roast.

Traditionally, the festival includes rides, but organizers found out late in the planning process the ride company they used in the past is not operational this season. With no other ride companies available on short notice, they turned to the public for help in providing alternative entertainment, and they got it.

Thanks to volunteers, sponsorships and other donations, the 2021 Ox Roast–set for Sept. 4-6 at Garrette park–is chockfull of activities for children and adults. Many new features dot the schedule.

Groups that stepped up to provide and run activities include the West Jefferson Parks and Recreation Department (water games), West Jefferson Hardware (games), and the Chrysler family (darts and balloons). West Jefferson Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7005 is organizing cornhole tournaments on two days and donating part of the proceeds back to the Ox Roast.

Donations made it possible for the Community Association to rent several bounce houses which will operate for several hours all three days of the festival. The exact hours depend on how many volunteers are recruited to run the bounce houses. For $10, children get a wrist bracelet that lets them bounce as much as they want.

The association also hired Horse-N-Round Fun to provide pony rides, a petting zoo, and their own bounce house. The pony rides are $5.

New on the food front is an addition to the eating contests. The watermelon, pie, ice cream, and hot dog eating contests are back. New is a donut hole eating contest. Also new is a pie auction set for Saturday night.

“We have nine or 10 pies people are going to bake and donate. We wanted something new and different and decided to give this a try,” said Jeff Pfeil, Community Association president. Proceeds will go to the West Jefferson Senior Citizens Christmas Party, an event the association sponsors each year.

Pfeil also reported that the association has made adjustments to the amount of meat they plan to roast and the price of the festival’s famous Ox Roast sandwiches.

“We cut back a little on how much meat we ordered because of the price of meat. Usually, we order around 5,000 pounds. This year, we ordered 3,000 pounds,” he said. “With the way our finances were when we had to place the order, we went conservative. We also have had meat left over the past couple of years.”

This year, an Ox Roast sandwich costs $8. At the last Ox Roast, the cost was $7.

Sponsorships are making live music possible again this year. The West Jefferson High School jazz band will perform Saturday night. Open Highway, a central Ohio bluegrass band, takes the stage Saturday night, followed by MLC Project, a six-piece group that plays rock, blues, southern rock and Motown music from the 1970s and ‘80s. MLC members Joe Blaho and Dan Casey are Madison County residents. On Sunday night, the London-based Alternative Experience will perform a variety of music, from pop to alternative. The Sean Prather Band, based out of Madison County, will close out the festival, playing a mix of country music and rock-n-roll.

For a full schedule of events, visit https://westjeffoxroast.org/.

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