Cridersville Fire Chief Ron Mertz
An area fire chief invites locals to come out to an annual festival and experience a “hometown feeling” this weekend.
The 48th annual Cridersville Fireman’s Jamboree is planned for Friday and Saturday and is expected to be packed with activities for the whole family.
Cridersville Fire Chief Ron Mertz said the fire department hosts this event for the village.
“We do use it for funding (for the fire department),” Mertz said of proceeds from the festival, “but we do this for the town. This is what Cridersville is all about. This is why we have a hometown feeling.”
Mertz said he and his crew are busy putting together the final touches on the event, but the jamboree is ready to go.
“We are ready to do this,” Mertz said.
The festival kicks off Friday with registration for the car show beginning at 4 p.m. At 5:30 p.m. the midway opens with food, rides and games, along with the beer tent. Dave Liles and his band are to conclude the evening, performing from 7 to 11 p.m.
Saturday kicks off with the third annual Cridersville Fireman’s Jamboree 5K Fire Run, which begins at 8 a.m. with registration starting at 7 a.m.
“We are expecting big crowds,” Mertz said. “We have a lot of registrations for the 5K and it will be the same route as last year.”
Uncle Louie’s Chicken Dinners are being sold starting at noon, when the midway also opens up for the day, and the annual parade is scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m. down Main Street in Cridersville, with a cornhole tournament immediately following.
Between 2 and 5 p.m. children can ride all the rides they want with the purchase of a $10 wristband.
Nashville Crush is scheduled to take the stage again this year from 8 to 11 p.m. and the evening is to conclude with a grand prize drawing.
Mertz said he decided to keep the schedule the same as last year, and there are no new additions this year. As the fire department prepares for the 50th annual jamboree in two years, they plan to bring in a big celebration, and new attractions to celebrate the milestone.
“It started out to be a major fundraiser for the fire department,” Mertz said. “I feel that Cridersville is a unique community and we (the Cridersville Fire Department) like to give the town something to look forward to each year.”
Mertz gave Jarid Kohlrieser and John McDonald and their crew a big thanks for helping out with the festival during Monday’s regular council meeting.
“They are here to help,” Mertz said. “This is a community event and that’s how we’d like to keep it.”
During the festival, the Cridersville Lions Club is selling raffle tickets for the Bluffton Lions Foundation Corvette Raffle with all proceeds going to area charities. The Cridersville Lions Club is to receive 25 percent of ticket sales, which the club plans to donate to the Chi-Ki-Lo Food Pantry in the village.
Tickets are being sold during the car show on Friday evening, with the winner of the raffle winning a 1991 red Corvette. Tickets are $2 each or three for $5. The drawing is to be held on Sept. 29 at Bluffton’s Fall Festival.
Cridersville Lions Club member Stacey Cook said the Bluffton Lions Foundation asked the club to sell the tickets and this is their first year participating in the fundraiser. Cridersville Police Chief John Drake said all part-time officers patrol the festival to prevent any overtime for full-time officers.
Mayor Lorali Myers told Mertz at the council meeting that she appreciates everything he and his team do for the festival and for the community.
“It’s always been a success,” Myers said of the jamboree.