AUSTINBURG TOWNSHIP — Township residents gathered Saturday to celebrate the community’s long history.
National Days events included a parade, flag-raising ceremony and honors to long-time members of the community.
Shirley and Matthew Forman were honored as “first alumni” of the 49-year-old festival, said Marcy Hejduk, who works on the committee and organizes the parade.
She said Matthew Forman was the driver for the first Austinburg Country Days maiden nearly 50 years ago.
Kanda O’Dell, emcee for the opening ceremonies, said the couple have lived their lives in the community for decades and are an integral part of the township’s history.
Prior to the ceremony, 32 units and 10 Jeeps participated in the annual Country Days Parade which closed Route 45 for a short time.
Austinburg Country Days Maiden Brooke Reed was formally introduced to the crowd and shared some remarks. A variety of other county royalty, other festivals, attended the event and saw representatives of the Sons of the American raise the American flag.
Brian Ballantine, who has lived most of his life in Austinburg Township, said his family enjoyed the parade.
“The kids had a blast,” he said. “It’s great to see family and friends.”
Country Days is set to continue Sunday morning with an outdoor church service at 10.30am, followed by garden games, bike races and a frog-jumping contest on Sunday afternoon.
The Joe Sullivan Magician is due to perform at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday and Geneva’s Image will follow at 2 p.m.
“Two Kings”, a musical group, is scheduled to perform at 3 p.m. and the Blues Project is scheduled to take the stage at 5:30 p.m. Water fights are also scheduled at 5 p.m.