After it was shut down for the first time after 52 years due to COVID-19 last year, Fall Festival of Leaves organizers wanted to bring the 53rd Bainbridge event that runs today through Sunday back with something extra.
“We have tried to expand it, make it bigger and better, and bring back some of the things we haven’t had in years,” said Dusty Countryman, festival vice chairperson.
To that end, the midway has been expanded and redesigned, more entertainment has been added, and there are other additions.
Countryman said the midway will include part of East Third Street, which hasn’t been used for several years, and that a new ride company offering about 30 percent more rides than in recent years has been hired. There is also a new classic games arcade trailer, laser tag near the main stage, a Ferris wheel for the first time, and the Cincinnati Circus, an acrobatic troupe, will perform on Friday and Saturday on a new green space in the center of town.
Another new feature is a preview night for the rides. Today from 5-9 p.m. unlimited rides ticket packages can be purchased for $15.
Charlotte Cox, another vice chairperson, said a second band has been added to Friday’s entertainment list. Dallas will take the main stage Friday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. followed by Nashville recording artists The Woods from 9-11 p.m. On Saturday it will be Sean Poole and Buckin’ Krazy from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m.
It all gets underway with opening ceremonies at 7 p.m. today at the intersection of Main and Maple streets, followed by the queen pageant at 8 p.m. in the Paxton Theatre.
Most activities start 10 a.m. the next three days.
“We’re just hoping for nice weather and big crowds,” Countryman said.
Eleven girls will vie for the queen’s crown. Following is a brief bio on each contestant:
Madisyn Hollen, 15, Hillsboro High School, is the daughter of Amy Hollen and Mike Miller. She plays varsity and jayvee soccer, is on the HHS Symphonic Choir, is a member of the varsity tennis and Hillsboro jayvee swim teams, and is the Hillsboro Uptown Business Association Snowflake Queen.
Averi McFadden, 17, Paint Valley High School, is the daughter of Casey and Lisa McFadden. She plays volleyball and basketball; is a cheerleader, runs track, SOVC, lead singer and member of the youth group at Acts Believe Church; is a member of Tip of the County 4-H Club and Drug Free Clubs of America Ambassador; and enjoys spending time with her family and friends.
Leah Mettler, 17, Unioto High School, is the daughter of Josh Mettler and Sara and Travis Dearth. She is a member of the National Honor Society, public relations officer in the National Art Honor Society, a Drug Free Clubs of America Ambassador, seven-year member of 4-H, full-time student at Ohio University-Chillicothe through the College Credit Plus program, member of her church youth group, and enjoys spending time with family and friends.
Aly Murphy, 17, McClain High School, is the daughter of Elizabeth and Roger Murphy. She is the McClain FFA president, students council president and Hi-Y president; is a member of the National Honor Society, Drug Free Clubs of America, M4-H, Highland County Junior Fair Board, Big Brother and Big Sisters; plays soccer and is the current cheerleading captain. She participates in Youth Government in the spring. She currently works for the Corner Pharmacy in Greenfield and enjoys reading and taking road trips with her family.
Presley Patterson, 15, McClain High School, is the daughter of Josh and Shanda Patterson. She is a McClain varsity cheerleader, second year member McClain FFA, member of the youth group at the Church of Christ in Greenfield, enjoys pageants (former Greene Countrie Towne title holder and attendant), and likes hanging out with friends, going shopping and cooking and baking.
Marissa Prince, 17, Paint Valley High School, is the daughter of Stacy Prince. She is a four-year varsity cheerleader, J216 volunteer, participates in musical theatre, is in FCS and on student council, and is an Open Door Church Sunday School volunteer.
Shianna Roll, 18, Adena High School, is the daughter of Amanda Ater. She participates in Skills USA, 4-H, church youth group and choir, is a member of student council, volunteers at the VA, is a Ross County Junior Fair Board member, works with MADE, she also enjoys hunting, fishing, riding four-wheelers and likes anything automotive.
Faith Stone, 15, Western High School, is the daughter of Dollie and Donald Stone. She is a Pike County junior deputy, member of the art club and after school program, and plays softball. She is a member of the National Society of High School Scholars. She is interested in playing football and wrestling, plans to go to college and wants to start a wrestling team at her school.
Samantha Truitt, 18, a graduate of Unioto High School, is the daughter of Stephanie and Robert Truitt. She attends Shawnee State University and works for the Chillicothe Paints, and enjoys hiking, traveling and gardening.
Morgan Whitley, 17, Western High School, is the daughter of Josh and Jessica Whitley. She plays softball, is captain of the cheer squad, National Honor Society member, full-time student at Shawnee State University through the College Credit Plus program at Western High School, and works part-time at Johnson’s Dairy Queen.
A’mya Wingfield, 17, Unioto High School, is the daughter of Kristi Bonner and Mackenzie Wingfield. She is a 12-year cheerleader, member of the Drug Free Clubs of America and student council, is a gymnastics coach, and enjoys cosmetology, fashion and hiking.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.