BY ED GEBERT
DHI Media Editor
egebert@timesbulletin.com

VAN WERT —Many things happen when you are in the center of the action. Once again this year, Van Wert will be in the center of the action.



The Crossroads Festival consists of crowds from the north and south descending on the area via U.S. 127 for the U.S 127 Yard Sales, from the east and west via Lincoln Highway for the Lincoln Highway Buy-Way Sales, and from everywhere for the Eighth annual Van Wert Rib Fest.

“I’m looking for a crowd similar to what we’ve seen before, maybe a few more,” stated Van Wert Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Larry Lee. “I think there is some additional interest generated by some of the magazine articles, Midwest Living magazine, and a few other publications. I think there has been a lot of good advertising about outlet sales and other events, and publicity through vendors. I’m looking for a busy, busy weekend with the yard sales.”

Lee added that he had personally sent out information to hundreds of people who called his office to inquire about the yard sales. Both routes have yard sale days set for Thursday-Sunday, August 7-10, although the sales at the Van Wert County Fairgrounds will kick off on Wednesday, Aug. 6. The dates for the two roadways do not always coincide, but this year both routes will be running the same weekend and with Van Wert at the intersection of those two highways, Lee believes that will drive more people to Van Wert for the event.

Additional events packed into the weekend will make Crossroads Festival. The Stephanie Dawn outlet sale just south of the intersection of Lincoln Hwy. and U.S. 127 is becoming a large drawing card for locals and for many from far away.

This year, a group from the television network HGTV will be in Van Wert for the festival, trying to make some great buys at the yard sales that may end up on one of the network shows. But, of course, the big additional event is the Eighth Annual Van Wert Rib Fest with lots of great food and other fun diversions.

“Everyone’s really excited about Rib Fest this year,” said Lee. “I think we have a really good lineup of entertainment, we have some new events happening with a poker run and other things going on. We have a great band coming in on Friday night and two good bands on Saturday night, if the weather holds for us, I’m looking for a really big show.”

Rib Fest will be held at the Fairground Friday night through Saturday night. Several rib vendors will offer their food for sale, and votes will be taken from rib-eaters to award prizes. Other foods will be available too.

The entertainment begins Friday night at 5 p.m. with the band Bad Advice playing at Rib Fest. Up next, from 7-10 p.m will be the music and fun of The Earthquakers. Jackpot will wrap up the music Friday night, playing from 10:30 p.m.- 12:30 a.m.

On Saturday night, the band Double Kik will open the show from 5:30-6:30 p.m., followed by Nashville Crush from 7-10 p.m. Scotty Bratcher will finish the live music with a set from 10:30 p.m. - 12:30 a.m.

No fewer than three high school classes will be holding class reunions at the event, and many other events are scheduled. A youth tournament and a home run derby in wiffleball will be held, a corn hole tournament will be going on, and the YWCA will be sponsoring the annual pig races at the festival. Also set is the When Pigs Fly event and also the Rib Run Flyer.

The Crossroads Weekend is another big time scheduled for the area, and organizers are looking for fine weather for the weekend. Lee noted that there are so many events that happen each summer that it is hard to keep up and keep track of everything. But that’s alright.

“I think it’s great there are so many things going on,” he said. “People from outside of Van Wert and the Van Wert area are amazed when they look at our calendar of events and see everything, not always huge festivals, but we have a lot of fun here in the Van Wert area…I’m just looking for this to be a really great weekend all the way around.”