Weekend events set to draw crowds to Greenfield, Rocky Fork despite wet forecast


By David Wright - dwright@timesgazette.com



High-speed boat races will return to Rocky Fork Lake this year for the first time since 2014.

High-speed boat races will return to Rocky Fork Lake this year for the first time since 2014.


Times-Gazette file photo

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect that high-speed boat races at Rocky Fork Lake will be held Saturday and Sunday, not Friday and Saturday.

Two popular summer events are expected to draw crowds to Greenfield and Rocky Fork Lake this weekend, even as forecasters call for showers and storms.

The Greene Countrie Towne Festival begins Friday at 4 p.m. with an opening ceremony. Shane Runion, a two-time CMA Emerging Artist nominee, will play the headline show at 9 p.m., and on Saturday, Hard Days Night, a Beatles tribute band, will be the main attraction beginning at 9 p.m. On Sunday, Seven Mile Bluegrass will perform at noon. The Greenfield Rotary Club Auction, which funds the organization’s community service projects throughout the year, will be held from 1-3 p.m. Saturday.

The festival will be staged on Jefferson Street and parts of North and South Washington streets, and festival committee Chairman Andrew Surritt said portions of those streets will be closed throughout the festival.

Surritt said last year’s festival drew an estimated 12,000 people to the village.

Surritt said on Thursday that Pig In Or Pig Out, a Florida barbecue stand that has won a number of barbecue competitions, will be a new addition to the festival. Surritt said the vendor is famous for serving alligator meat and the “rib-sicle,” a tasty barbecue dish.

As for the possibility of rain, Surritt said festival coordinators will be connected to the statewide MARCS radio system, and will communicate with the Highland County Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service in Wilmington.

“We’ll have plenty of heads up if there’s severe weather inbound,” he said. “We’ll be able to notify everybody in advance.”

The National Weather Service calls for showers and thunderstorms before 5 p.m. Friday with a high near 82, showers and thunderstorms Saturday morning with a high of 78, and showers and thunderstorms Sunday with a high near 77.

For a full schedule of events for the Greene Countrie Towne Festival, visit www.greenecountrietownefestival.org.

Also this weekend, the return of high-speed boat races to Rocky Fork Lake will bring visitors from all over the country as power boats reach speeds of up to 160 mph on the water.

Races begin at around 9 or 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday on a race course centered around two islands on the lake’s east side, organizers said. More than 25 world records have been set in that location in previous years.

Planners said there will also be a fireworks display Saturday evening at dark, a Budweiser beer garden both days, and food carts and flea market vendors.

As previously reported, after being held for 25 out of 30 years, the races — formerly known as Thunder in the Hills — were canceled in 2015 and have not been held since.

The races and parking are free for spectators, and there will be a VIP area with food for sponsors.

More than 60 boats are expected to compete in six competitive classes, as well as a vintage class.

Rocky Fork State Park officials and emergency staff with the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District will be on site in case anything goes awry, planners said.

Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.

High-speed boat races will return to Rocky Fork Lake this year for the first time since 2014.
https://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2018/07/web1_Rumble-pic-2.jpgHigh-speed boat races will return to Rocky Fork Lake this year for the first time since 2014. Times-Gazette file photo

By David Wright

dwright@timesgazette.com