Plans for the 24th annual festival have been in the works for a year, with organizers providing activities for everyone _from a 15 K run and three-on-three basketball, to kiddie games, prizes, crafts, antiques and food.
"We've enlarged the festival this year to include the west side of the park and increased the craft area to two tents," said Jim Lewis, festival chairman, adding that the committee is expecting 40-45 antique tractors this year.
"Last year we were rained out, so we're hoping to make this the best year ever," Lewis said.
The festival kicked off Friday night with opening ceremonies, including the presentation of the flag and the singing of the "Star Spangled Banner." The fair queen and her court also were chosen.
Today's festivities begin at 9 a.m. with a one-mile fun run, followed at 9:30 a.m. with the 15K run. The festival grounds at Mantua Village Park open at 1 p.m. with children's games, a strolling magician and Boho the clown.
And don't forget the potatoes. Festival-goers will find plenty of them this weekend.
Potato lovers can participate in the bake-off and the mashed potato eating contest today, while kids can join in the potato head decorating contest.
The festival will conclude Sunday with the parade, which steps-off from the high school at 2 p.m., and one of its main attractions _ the raffle.
Up for grabs this year is a $1,000 first prize, a $300 gift certificate to any state park as second prize, a color television as third prize and a $100 savings bond as fourth prize. There also will be a separate raffle for four tickets to the Sept. 25 Cleveland Indians - New York Yankees baseball game. Tickets for both are available for $1 each up until the time of the raffle.
Lewis, who has been involved with the festival since he and his wife moved to Mantua three years ago, said that if the weather is nice he expects upwards of 12,000 people to visit the festival over the weekend.
Lewis also said that village officials were helpful in putting this year's festival together.
"Thanks to Mayor Claude Hopkins for his ability to work with the festival and to the service department also They take care of the park and help us out," Lewis said.
Planning for next year's festival begins in October, and Lewis said the committee is always looking for members.
"It's a year-long adventure, with a lot of things that need to be
organized," said Jim Lewis, festival chairman. "Come spring time, we
have to start booking the entertainment and everything."