Note: This story appears in the Wednesday, Sept. 11 newspaper on Page A1.
WELLSTON — In the fall of 1973, Wellston held its centennial celebration with much “pomp and circumstance.” Every year since then, the Wellston OHillCo Society, has held a free festival in downtown Wellston.
The festival began as the Ohio Hill Country Festival or OHillCo for short, celebrating the area’s Appalachian heritage. There was a period of time that the festival changed its name to the Wellston Coal Festival and celebrated the area’s coal mining past.
This year, the OHillCo Society decided to change the name of the festival back to what it was originally called.
The festival had a lot to celebrate in 2019, as they boasted a new amusement ride company, called “Carnival Tyme Amusement Ride” who brought in 10 rides this year including a large Ferris wheel that was set in the intersection of Ohio Avenue and First Street.
The festival had its five-day run that began with a “preview night” on Tuesday, Sept. 3, and ran through Saturday, Sept. 7.
Tuesday evening was known as Gospel Night with Tick Ridge Bluegrass Gospel performing. The evening also feature the Coal Miner Olympics and the mini queen contest. A team of Wellston High School Cheerleaders claimed the gold medal in the Olympics, while 3-year-old Aubree Leonard was named mini queen.
The Hometown Parade on Wednesday evening had many entries including General Mills, who came through the parade with the world’s largest box of pizza rolls, which weighted 645 pounds, and had 21,060 pizza rolls inside the box.
In addition, well-known Wellston businessman Tom McWilliams had the honor of cutting the opening ceremony ribbon, as part of his duties as grand marshal. Ben Davis Jr. and the Revelry wrapped up the evening with some tunes.
Thursday of the festival drew a crowd of festival-goers as Nashville Recording Artist Adam Doleac performed on the Hozer Pizza Stage. The rides were in full-swing by that point as well.
A student pep rally was held during the festival on Friday with folks trying out for karaoke on the main stage in the evening.
Festival-goers enjoyed several events throughout the day on Saturday such as a color-run, baby contest, a touch-a-truck event and much more. The Grande Finale Parade on Saturday evening lasted for around an hour.
Then the Smokin’ Ham Band performed. The festival concluded Saturday evening with the crowning of the 2020 Wellston OHillCo Queen and Court.
Crowned as the 2020 Wellston Ohio Hill Country Festival Little Miss Queen was Brenlei Floyd. Macy Thompson was named first attendant, while the title of second attendant went to Karlee McCorkle.
Crowned as the 2020 Wellston Ohio Hill Country Festival Jr. Miss Queen was Maizie Wyatt. Hannah Peterson was named first attendant, while the title of second attendant went to Maggie Lambert.
Crowned as the 2020 Wellston Ohio Hill Country Festival Queen was Chloe Johnson. Isabella Womeldorf was named first attendant, while the title of second attendant went to Leslie Hartley.
The festival will return in 2020 with festivities happen once again, the day after Labor Day.