Community gatherings in ‘Small Town America’ are special, and the stuff from which you can see a living Norman Rockwell scene on practically every street corner. Practically every village and hamlet across America has such an annual event. West Unity, Ohio, has two, the latter of which, the annual West Unity Chamber of Commerce Fall Fest, took place on October 8, with a free family movie night taking place the evening prior at the Hilltop School, with a screening of Zootopia.
The weather was perfect for the event, with just a hint of early morning crispness in the air, and lots of unbroken sunshine throughout. The day began with a breakfast being provided by the Brady Township Fire Department. From there, the activity shifted downtown where local businesses had special sales inside their stores, while outside, the sidewalks were laden with foot traffic for the Fall Fest Chili Cook-off. Groups gathered to test chili concoctions ranging from a mild white chicken chili, right on up to the clear-your-sinuses flamethrower variety. Votes were cast for the favorites of all the offerings.
The old Schmucker Ice Cream Parlor was the home to an extensive arts and crafts show, and if that wasn’t your cup of tea, you could test the torque of your truck with a dyno at AJ Door. Ziva Wyrick was handing out the fruits of her pumpkin patch to kids, who also had games galore offered by Solid Rock Church, as well as face painting by the Hilltop High and Junior High School Cheerleaders.
At noon, the West Unity park was the site of a 5-K color run and walk. Registrants had the opportunity to take to the old Hilltop Cross Country course in their choice of running or walking. Volunteers from the Chamber held down two posts along the course, ready to dust the participants with every color of the rainbow. By the time that the race was completed, the volunteers had become nearly as colorful as the runners and walkers.
Nobody brings their community together for family fun better than West Unity, and with the full cooperation of Mother Nature this year, the 2016 Fall Fest can be chalked up as a winner in every aspect.
Timothy Kays can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org