CHESTER — The Chester Shade Historical Association (CSHA) is hosting the annual Meigs Heritage Festival this Saturday, Oct. 2, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. The 2020 event, like so many activities, was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.
This celebration of the rich and diverse history of Southeastern Ohio from the 1800’s to the present will be held on the Commons area below the Old Meigs County Courthouse, commonly referred to as the Chester Courthouse, and Academy in Chester, Ohio.
The festival features the popular Vintage Car Show, historically themed artisans and vendors, raffles, homemade chicken and noodles and desserts, and the crowning of Meigs Finest.
There’s also pie judging and a pie auction. A new event, the pie eating contest, is open to anyone over 18 who loves pies.
Courthouse tours will also be available throughout the day, and winners of the Meigs Treasure Hunt will be announced. Music will include Lucas Hunter and the Bluegrass Boys.
Also new this year will be Quilt Historian Kathryn Johnson of Charleston, W.Va., providing a review of the history of quilts and then will be available to meet with attendees to discuss one or two quilts that they would like to know more about.
According to organizers, Johnson has been a quilt enthusiast and maker of quilts since age 9. She has made quilts, designed quilts, is an appraiser, she has collected over 300. She has a vast knowledge of quilts and is willing to share her knowledge with anyone who brings a quilt or two for discussion. This program will begin at 10 a.m. in the Chester Academy with Johnson presenting a quilt history talk, will have a display of some of her old quilts, then begin the individual discussions at 11 a.m. Sign up for the private discussions after Sept. 27, by calling Opal Grueser at 740-992-3301 or at the festival. The quilt history program is only limited by the room size, no preregistration is required.
The festival schedule posted via the CSHA website is as follows:
9 a.m. — Festival begins with opening ceremony at 9:30 a.m.;
9 a.m. to 11 a.m. — Pie Making registration;
9 a.m. to noon — Meigs Finest registration, “Oldest Lady and Oldest Man attending”;
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Car Show (see Linda Blosser for registration and information)
10 a.m. — Bluegrass music begins with Lucas Hunter and the Bluegrass Boys;
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. — Treasure Hunt registration;
11:30 a.m. — Pie Judging;
Noon — Treasure Hunt winners announced;
12:30 p.m. — Announce “Meigs Finest”;
1 p.m. — Pie Making Winners announced and Pie Eating Contest;
2 p.m. — Pie Auction;
3 p.m. — Car Show prizes, 50/50 and winners announced.
The festival had its beginnings as Chester Shade Days. More recently it was renamed Meigs Heritage Festival in an effort to highlight all of Meigs County’s history and talent. After using Eastern High School as a venue for several years, the festival was met with a positive response by those in attendance when it returned to its roots on the Courthouse grounds in 2017.
CSHA operates the historic Courthouse and Museum, and the adjacent Academy which houses genealogy records. The nonprofit organization sponsors many activities throughout the year, including the festival, Genealogy Day, Banquet and Auction, tours of the Courthouse, and programs for area students.
All proceeds from the Associations efforts go to the maintenance and preservation of the buildings and included museum artifacts and genealogy records.
The event is open to the public, and admission and parking are free. For more information, to register for the car show, to participate as an artisan or organization, or to donate, visit them on Facebook: Chester Shade Historical Association; contact via Messenger, their website: www.chestercourthouse.com; and by email CHSAHeritageFestival@gmail.com.
Beth Sergent contributed to this story. Additional information provided by CSHA website and Opal Grueser.
Lorna Hart is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing.