The Rocky Fork Community Alliance has announced plans to revive the former Sassafras Music Festival by making it part of the annual Spring Market Days and has also signed a contract with Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks to put on a fireworks show the Saturday before the Fourth of July.
The Spring Market Days/Sassafras Music Festival will be held Memorial Day weekend, May 27-28, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the North Beach parking lot. It will feature music, various vendors, food and the East of the River Shawnee Tribe.
“Part of the reason we have it is because it’s a fundraiser for us and we will have raffles and things like that, and we also charge the vendors a small fee,” said Diane Uhl, RFCA president. “But it’s also something else for people out here to do and draws other people to the area.”
The music schedule is as follows:
Saturday, May 27
• 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – Open mic session
• 12:30 to 2 p.m. – Millcreek Drifters
• 2 to 3 p.m. – Herb Day
• 3 to 4:30 p.m. – Wayfaring Strangers
• 4:30 to 6 p.m. – Timberlane Express
Sunday, May 28
• 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Open mic session
• 1 to 2 p.m. – Troy Wait
• 2 to 3:30 p.m. – Open mic session
• 3:30 to 5 p.m. – Timberlane Express
Uhl said the bands will set up on the backside of the North Beach restrooms and will face the large parking area. She said there will be some bluegrass and oldies music, with a little gospel and country on Sunday.
“It will be a mixture, but you’re not going to find any pop or hard rock,” Uhl said.
During the open mic sessions, Uhl said there’s a group of area residents that like to get together and play and they’ll likely being doing that on picnic tables or wherever. But she also said that if there’s someone that would like to show up and test their talent, time could likely be found for that.
The East of the River Shawnee Tribe will be dressed in full regalia selling native crafts and other items. Uhl said she hopes they’ll also do so drumming during breaks in the music.
“We’re really excited about them,” she said. “Their members are scattered across Southern Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia, but they have recently started coming to Rocky Fork for meetings and private ceremonies because it’s centrally located and they really like Rocky Fork.”
A wide variety of food will be for sale by Tony’s Smokehouse out of Greenfield. Kona Ice will also be set up.
Vendors can rent a space for $25 for the weekend. For more information call Uhl at 937-725-6467 or Angie Mustard at 937-402-0075.
The Sassafras Music Festival was held at the lake for several years at various locations, but has not been held for some time. Local resident Tom McMurray, who used to play at the festival, is organizing its revival.
The RFCA provided a popular fireworks show last year and is bringing it back again on Saturday, July 1. The Rozzi’s fireworks will be launched from the South Beach area, which Uhl said will be closed to the public for the show.
Starting at 5 p.m. at North Beach, the RFCA will serve free hot dogs, chips, cookies and water; there will be deejay music that will continue through the fireworks; face painting for the kids; and the Highland County Veterans Honor Guard will perform a flag-raising ceremony.
“It’s just another way to draw people to the lake,” Uhl said. “We’re all about trying to improve things, bring people in and making the lake area a place people want to go.”
Uhl said the RFCA has a few sponsors lined up for the fireworks, but it needs more. Anyone interested can contact Uhl or Mustard, or donations can be sent to: Rocky Fork Community Alliance, P.O. Box 271, Hillsboro, Ohio 45133.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.