Swampfest set for June 16-18 in Shreve

Swampfest set for June 16-18 in Shreve

Image Credit: Submitted

It’s that time of year when the Shreve community takes to the streets to celebrate with friends and neighbors during Swampfest June 16-18.

The festival will feature food, games, and activities for all ages including a frog-jumping contest, concerts, raffle drawings, craft vendors, a kiddie tractor pull and a “Support Our Troops Parade.” Ax throwing will be new this year, along with a car and bike show on Saturday at 4 p.m.

Keeping with tradition, the grand finale will be Saturday’s fireworks at 10:30 p.m.

“Swampfest is meant to bring the community together,” organizer Amy Duda said. “We’re celebrating the swamp, wildlife and the preservation of the environment.”

Known for many years as the Shreve Homecoming, the festival was renamed Swampfest in 2018 so it could be recognized by the Ohio Festival and Events Association, an organization that promotes tourism through the state’s festivals.

“We needed a theme,” festival co-chair Joe Wachtel said.

Local residents often refer to the marsh as “Shreve swamps,” so that’s how the name came into play.

Shreve police officer Alan Sands is among those planning Swampfest and will take a seat in a dunk tank to help support it.

“Every year we’re adding more and more, which is bringing more people to Swampfest,” Sands said. “It’s also bringing Shreve into the spotlight.”

Kylie Taylor isn’t a native of Shreve but is feeling more at home in the community through her work on Swampfest and behind the counter of Shreve Auto Repair.

“I’m getting excited about Swampfest,” she said, “and it’s really nice to see our customers getting excited about it also. Being a part of this community is pretty special.”

Taylor has been recruiting entries for the bike and car show, open to all makes and models. Registration is $5 per entry and can be taken that day.

Andrea LeBlanc sees the festival as a way to bring people to Shreve, and for those who have been away, “It’s a reason to come back and see how great the town is,” LeBlanc said.

It’s what inspires her to help with the event.

Triway High School student Maria James had never been to Swampfest when her T-shirt design was chosen as the winner for last year’s festival. She visited Swampfest and said it was kind of cool with the variety of food vendors, games and a mini rock concert as the evening entertainment.

She also won this year’s T-shirt contest with her design of a frog holding a drink and boom box. The box represents the music performances, and the frog has a drink, she said, because “he’s chilling and enjoying himself.”

James, who will be a junior at Triway this fall, said art has been a big part of her life for a long time. Her family lives on a wooded lot with a pond, so she is used to seeing frogs, tadpoles, turtles, cattails and other things that fit into the marsh theme.

A daily Swampfest raffle will be held with the winner announced each evening at 8:30 p.m. Thursday’s prize is a kayak, Friday’s prize is a camping package and Saturday’s winner receives a shotgun. The Shreve Community and Business Association also will hold a Swampfest drawing, with the winner announced Saturday at 10:10 p.m.

Also on Saturday, The County Line Historical Society will host a free program titled The Natural History of Brown’s Lake Bog at 1 p.m. at the Shreve Presbyterian Church, 343 N. Market St.

The speaker will be Denny Jordan, chair of the Wayne County Park District’s board.

Brown’s Lake Bog is one of a handful of sites in Ohio that contains an open kettle-hole lake surrounded by a floating sphagnum moss mat. The bog and surrounding forest were purchased by The Nature Conservancy in 1966. The preserve was declared a National Natural Landmark in 1968.

“It’s a real special kind of place with a unique combination of plants,” Jordan said.

Carnivorous plants, large cranberry and sundew are a few of them.

Jordan will cover the basic geologic history and processes that resulted in the creation of Brown’s Lake Bog. He also will discuss the importance of protecting it.

A retired Wooster High School science teacher, Jordan is an Ohio certified volunteer naturalist.

Swampfest will kick off at 4 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. The featured entertainment at 7 p.m. on Thursday is Callunaw Rednecks, a country and southern rock band.

On Friday, “We Love Our Troops Parade” will begin at 6 p.m. at Shreve Elementary School and continue downtown. Marching in the parade are first responders, military personnel and veterans. Following the parade, the blues band Memphis Cradle will take the stage at 7 p.m. The kiddie tractor pull also will happen at 7 p.m.

Swampfest will open at 2 p.m. on Saturday with performances by the Hebrews Band, Amazing Mr. D Magic Show and Elvis tribute artist Gary Shreve. The frog-jumping contest is slated for 3 p.m. The Waggoner Band will take the stage at 7 p.m.