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Returning Favorites And New Attractions At Pioneer Days Aug. 17–20

From last year’s Pioneer Days festival: Elaine Hubbard eats fire, Noah Sims eats fire, and OVW wrestler DMone Salavino undergoes and existential crises. Composite image.

Robert Moore
Herald Staff

The 11th annual Pioneer Days Festival brings four—that’s right, four, count ’em!—four days of fun to Old Fort Harrod State Park. This year’s festival runs from Thursday, Aug. 17, through Sunday, Aug. 20. There will be a lot of returning favorites —including the Lions Club Run for Sight 5K, the Big Jack Pearson Memorial Car Show and Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), all on Saturday—and something new as well. There will be a skating rink on Thursday, Aug. 17. Before the wrestling begins Saturday there will be a meet and greet with the OVW superstars. This year, Alice Blue Gown are the headliners on Saturday.

“We wanted to continue to grow on the momentum from the last year and provide the community and region with a low to no cost summer festival the entire family can enjoy,” said Clay Slone, president of the Mercer County Chamber of Commerce, who are organizing the festival. “What is so unique about our event is how diverse it is and how welcoming it is to all. Our event lets the attendees decide their cost and makes it very budget friendly.”

Noah Sims Funnel Cake
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Thursday, Aug. 17
5 to 11 p.m.
The theme for Thursday is family. It starts at 5 p.m. with the Family Night Kick Off Party, followed by a baby show at 7 p.m. Larry Sanders and the Borderline Band play at 8 p.m. In addition to the skating rink, there will be giant yard games, a beer tent, food trucks and activities for kids by the Arts Council of Mercer County and Isaiah House.

Friday, Aug. 18
5 to 11 p.m.
Vendors will set up and the encampment for historical reenactors will begin Friday. The entertainment starts at 5 p.m. with a dunking booth, petting zoo and train. There will be a blacksmith demonstration at 5:30 p.m. followed by a fire eater and stilt walker starting at 7 p.m.

The music entertainment includes Duncan Shadrack, who plays starting at 5 p.m., Rags and Riches at 7 p.m. and Rolled in Stone at 9 p.m.

Whiskey Jack Dancing
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Saturday, Aug. 19
8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Saturday is the big day, so start if off right with the Colonial Breakfast starting at 8 a.m. The Lions Club Run for Sight 5K starts at 8 a.m. and the Big Jack Pearson Memorial Car Show starts at 10 a.m.

There will be a blacksmith demonstration at 9:30 a.m. and later at 3 p.m., the Critters for Litters pet contest starts at 10 a.m.

There will be a Shinji Karate demonstration at 11 a.m. and you get your chance to meet the Campbellsville University sports teams starting at 11:45 a.m. The 4Kids Christian Sings Songs of Summer starting at noon.

Tired yet? There’s still got a lot to do, with games for adults with the Mercer County Public Library runs 1–5 p.m. The dreaded pie-eating contest starts at 1 p.m. and the also dreaded watermelon eating contest starts at 2 p.m. There will be a stilt walker 2 to 7 p.m. The OVW meet and greet happens at 6 p.m. and they’ll be ring the bell for wrasslin’ at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday’s schedule for music includes Dave Stahl, “the Piano Doctor” starting at 1 p.m. followed by the Mountain Laurels at 3 p.m., John Thomas Moore at 5:30 p.m. and closing out Saturday, Alice Blue Gown at 9:30 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 20
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday begins with a worship service at 10 a.m., followed by a blacksmith demonstration at noon. Blue Groove Jazz will close out the festival starting at 3 p.m.

As if all that wasn’t enough, there will be plenty of shopping, with more than 100 vendors selling jewelry, cosmetics, candles and home decor, local honey, kayaks, T-shirts, artisan crafts and a wide variety of food. There will also be reduced admission to Old Fort Harrod and to the mansion museum.

The 11th annual Pioneer Days Festival runs from Thursday, Aug. 17, through Sunday, Aug. 20 Old Fort Harrod State Park (100 South College Street). For more information, call 859-734-2365 or visit

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