The Greene Countrie Towne Festival is returning to Greenfield on the third weekend of July, the Greenfield Rotary Club announced.
The festival will return on July 16-18, again featuring free entertainment and many activities for people to enjoy after more than a year of quarantines and reduced activity because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“By now, adults wishing to be vaccinated against COVID-19 have had an opportunity to get the vaccine, and we felt it was time to bring back the Greene Countrie Towne Festival,” Greenfield Rotary President Ron Coffey said. “Governor DeWine has reduced restrictions on public gatherings, and multiple health orders have been rescinded. We rejoice that the infection rate has declined significantly and things appear to be getting back to normal.”
The club president went on to say that attendance is “strictly voluntary. Anyone who feels uncomfortable attending the festival is encouraged to stay home or to take additional precautions such as wearing a mask. Safety comes first and we respect that. But it appears a large number of people have already resumed being out in public, attending sporting events and other activities. The festival provides an opportunity for the citizens of the community to get together, catch up on life, and enjoy some summer fun.”
The 2021 festival will be scaled back a bit but will offer most of the activities that have been its hallmarks. Activities will include live entertainment, a queen pageant, food booths, antique cars and tractors, a beer garden and the Rotary auction featuring donated items and limited edition prints by local artist Tammy Wells.
The queen pageant will get underway on Thursday, July 15 when contestants take the stage at the McClain High School auditorium to vie for the title of Miss Greene Countrie Towne Festival. Activities will continue on the festival stage Friday, July 16 as more festival royalty are crowned in various age groups.
Entertainment booked thus far includes a country band (Sean Poole and Buckin’ Krazy) on Friday evening, a classic rock group (Blue Steel) on Saturday night and a bluegrass combo (7 Mile Bluegrass) on Sunday.
The Rotary auction is set to take place from 1-3 p.m. Saturday and will feature donated items plus 10 limited edition prints by Wells.
“We are forever indebted to Tammy Wells for her work on behalf of Rotary over the years,” Coffey said. “Not only has she helped the Rotary Club raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to maintain the Ralph W. Phillips Recreation & Civic Center and do other good works for the community, but her prints also help to capture images of historical people and places associated with our community of Greenfield.”
In addition to a Sunday parade, the festival’s final day will recognize Edward Lee McClain for his contributions to the community. July 18 will be known as Edward Lee McClain Day to honor the industrial magnate and philanthropist and his family who donated McClain High School to the community as a gift intended “to do the most good for the greatest number for the longest time.”
McClain — as portrayed by Danny Long — will be present for the ceremony at the high school which bears his name. Tours of the legendary school will be available to the public following the ceremony that begins at 1 p.m.
Summer festivals in Greenfield date back to at least 1967 and have brought people to town for entertainment, food and fun. The Greene Countrie Towne Festival was organized in the early 1970s and ran through 1986. In 1987, following the demise of the festival, the Greenfield Rotary Club became involved in festival sponsorship with a simple one-day Community Festival that later became the three-day Wheels of Progress Festival for several years. In 2011, the Greene Countrie Towne Festival name was reintroduced as Rotary continued to sponsor the festival. The term “Greene Countrie Towne” with its old English spelling was a term of endearment used by Gen. Duncan McArthur to describe the town that he founded in 1799.
Updates and application forms for the queen pageant, commercial vendors, food vendors, craft vendors and non-profit vendors will be available on the Greene Countrie Towne Festival Facebook page. For more information, visit the Greenfield Rotary website, www.greenfieldrotary.org.
Information for this story was provided by Ron Coffey.