East Liverpool festival celebrating half a century

EAST LIVERPOOL — The Tri-State Pottery Festival will celebrate its 50th year when it kicks off its annual three-day run at 10 a.m. June 14 with Mayor Ryan Stovall crowning a new queen on the steps of the Museum of Ceramics.

Officials of the Beacon Association, which plans and hosts the festival, are inviting all past queens to join the festivities in honor of its banner year, both for the crowning ceremony and for the parade, which will be held at 5 p.m. on June 16.

Beacon President Brian Vaughn asks that former festival queens interested in participating call him at 330-831-5754 so he can gauge interest and plan for a float in the parade.

As in past years, the festival will boast three days’ worth of activities, including contests, music, vendors and exhibits, amusement rides by Deshler Amusements, museum tours, car and motorcycle shows, and concluding with a fireworks display.

Businesses are encouraged to become involved by decorating their windows in a pottery festival theme, with judging to take place during the festival by a group of judges. No registration is necessary, with Beacon members saying they will consider all windows seen with a festival theme.

Thursday’s lineup begins with a stuffed animal contest at the Carnegie Public Library at 11 a.m., followed by a jump rope contest at 5:30 p.m. at the library; and doorknob tossing competition at 5:30 p.m. at the Museum of Ceramics parking lot.

More information on the jump rope contest is available from Betty Patterson, 330-843-2376, while Perry Howard can answer questions about the doorknob tossing at 330-843-2147.

On Friday, events include the baby contest at 5:30 p.m. at the Kent State University amphitheater (contact Michelle Argabrite, 234-517-4104); Tall Tales, 6 p.m., main stage (Brian Vaughn); hamburger eat-off, 6:30 p.m., main stage, register 15 minutes prior; beard and mustache contest, 7 p.m., Museum of Ceramics steps (Joe Wellershause, 330-385-5976); 7 p.m., historical tours by attorney Tim Brookes, meet in front of Masonic Lodge.

Saturday’s events get underway at 9 a.m. (registration 8 a.m.) with the Joe Wells Jr. Memorial 5K Run/Walk beginning at the KSU amphitheater (Katie Bricker, 330-853-5252); followed by a child’s pet show at 10 a.m. (registration 9 a.m.), library (Marilyn Green, 330-385-7603 or Betty Patterson, 330-843-2376); Bink Applegate Memorial Rose Show/Contest, 9 a.m. (Amber Gill, 330-383-1377); baking contest, registration 11 a.m., judging 1 p.m. (Lucy Harris, 234-517-9891); corn hole tournament, 5 p.m., Museum of Ceramics parking lot (Perry Howard, 330-843-2147).

The Pottery Idol competition, for solo singers 16 to adult, will begin at 7 p.m., with a youth talent show also planned at 6 p.m. Competitors must register by June 11 at DC Music in Calcutta or by calling 330-385-0468.

Artisans, crafters and non-profit groups will be set up in the BOSS parking lot, offering wares and information, along with a petting zoo, and those interested in participating can contact Brian Vaughn at 330-831-5754.

A car show will be held in the parking lot next to Bricker’s on Sixth Street from 6-9 p.m. Saturday with dash plaques and awards to be given. More information is available by calling Brian Vaughn, Jake Harris, 330-853-3773 or Mike Cunningham, 330-383-0603.

A bike run and show will also be held with registration for the run from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., a blessing of the bikes from 12-12:15 and the run to begin at 1 p.m. at a cost of $15 per driver, $5 per passenger. The show will be held in front of Bill Tice Auto and the Elks Lodge with prizes to be awarded. More information is available from Betty Patterson, 330-843-2376.

Owners of cars and bikes are encouraged to take their vehicles in the parade, which will start at 5 p.m.

Units are being accepted for the parade until June 13, with registration to be held at 4 p.m. Saturday and the parade to start at 5 p.m. in front of Riverview Florist. The parade will be judged, with prizes awarded, and participants are encouraged to use the 50th anniversary theme in their units. More information is available from Ruby Weymouth, 330-843-2628.

The fireworks display by Pyrotechnico starts at 9:30 p.m., sponsored by Heritage Thermal Services, East Liverpool City Hospital, Hancock County Savings Bank, Mason Color, Dawson Funeral Home and the Hot Dog Shoppe. Corporate sponsors and donations are still being sought, and can be made by contacting Paula Vaughn at 330-853-8630.

A special 50th anniversary edition Plate Turner card will be available this year featuring the back stamp from the Bennett & Brothers Pottery for $5. It was the first pottery in the city which became known as “the pottery capital of the world.”

The cards will be available at festival headquarters in the Masonic Temple or by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope and a check made payable to the Tri-State Pottery Festival to Frank Hilliard, 16675 Annesley Road, East Liverpool, Ohio, 43920.

A special collection of festival programs over the years, from the first in 1968, will be on display in the headquarters,and Paula Vaughn is searching for the one from 1995 as well as more recent ones from 2000-2017 to include in the display. Some programs will be available for purchase as souvenirs.

There will be entertainment on the main stage each night of the festival, and the Museum of Ceramics will be open from 9:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. each day with a reduced admission rate of just $1 per person. Free guided tours will be offered at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. for groups of three or more.

Also in conjunction with the festival, the East Liverpool Learning and Community Center, 110 Maine Boulevard, will have a large exhibit of Hans Hacker paintings, mugs and plates from noon until 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Those needing more information can check Facebook by typing in “Tri-state Pottery Festival” and the event in which they are interested. Facebook pages have been created for many of the specific events, with times and details listed.