Local 13-year-old Samantha Rae Dauquette will be one of the many performers at Willshire Days this weekend in the Village of Willshire. (Submitted photo)
Local 13-year-old Samantha Rae Dauquette will be one of the many performers at Willshire Days this weekend in the Village of Willshire. (Submitted photo)

WILLSHIRE — For almost half a century, the residents of Willshire have held a weekend of fun and celebration. This year marks the 49th annual Willshire Days festival on June 27-28. The festival is sponsored by the Willshire Lions Club.

The event will kick off on Friday evening with the flag raising ceremony at 6 p.m. at American Legion Post 207. Then the entertainment stage will be filled with talent from the local area. Pat Briede will begin the evening with music from various genres. Shay Bolton and Sophia Miller will be sharing their vocal talents for all to enjoy. The feature event on the entertainment stage for the evening will feature 13- year-old, Samantha Rae Dauquette. A powerhouse vocalist originally from Gibson City, Illinois, she is now based in northwest Ohio. Samantha Raw is accompanied by her father, Drew Duquette, who plays acoustic guitar and adds background vocals and by her mother, Janel, who adds piano, and vocals. She has performed at various events, clubs, and talent shows since the age of three, including Ohio Has Talent! at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center in 2011. Her vocals have a pop/blues/Motown feel and provide a unique experience for every audience.

Many activities are slated for the park on Friday and Saturday during the late afternoon and evening hours. Willshire Sportman’s Club and Countryside Church of the Nazarene are sponsoring inflatables and there will be carnival games, putt-putt golf, bingo, and other activities. Homemade soups, sandwiches, pies, and cakes will once again be available in the food stand, along with cotton candy, elephant ears, funnel cakes, soft serve ice cream and many other treats. Other events on tap include the Wooden Bat Little League baseball tournament throughout the weekend, community wide garage sales, and a craft and flea market.

Activities on Saturday begin early as the Willshire Fire Department will hosts a pancake, sausage, biscuit and gravy breakfast. The annual parade will step off at 4 p.m., and afterward the park will again be busy with many activities including chicken dinners prepared by Geno’s and served by the Willshire Legion Auxiliary. The Van Wert Area Community Concert Band will perform under the direction of former Parkway band director Richard Sherrick. Following the concert band, Ghost Train Outlaws, featuring local artist John Brodbeck will hit the stage with his blend of country music. Brodbeck has performed around the area for the past few years and has become a local favorite. Willshire native, Aaron Roehm will be also entertaining the crowd with magic and balloon sculptures. Rounding out the evening entertainment will be the band, Evolution, with Matt Motycka of Willshire. Evolution plays mostly acoustic rock from the 80’s and 90’s.

Free pony rides will be available Saturday from 5-9 p.m., sponsored by the Willshire American Legion Post 207 and the Sons of the American Legion. . A kid’s tractor pull will held Saturday with weigh-in at 6 p.m. and pulling at 6:30 p.m., sponsored by the Willshire Fire Department.