West Side Harvest Home Fair celebrates 159 years

There is little more to the West Side than Ohio’s “Biggest Little Fair,” the Harvest Home Fair.

The Cheviot-Westwood Kiwanis Club and the Harvest Home Fair Association partner with the Town of Cheviot each year for the annual Harvest Home Fair.

The 159th Annual Harvest Home Fair will celebrate Cheviot’s bicentennial. The Cheviot Bicentennial Committee is sponsoring a competition for the best decorated sheep statue in town as part of its celebration. The Cheviot sheep is a breed of white-faced sheep and has become a mascot of the city. Festival-goers will vote for the winning statue throughout the fair.

The four-day fair is scheduled from Thursday, September 6 through Sunday, September 9 at Harvest Home Park in Cheviot.

The fair dates back to 1806, when settlers Cheviot Enoch and Ashsah Carson harvested the first bountiful harvest from their 20-acre farm and invited other settlers to celebrate with them and give thanks for the successful harvest.

A Ron's Roost parade entrance spins on North Bend Road during the 2015 Harvest Home Parade. The parade takes place September 6 and the fair takes place September 6-9 at Harvest Home Park.

Some form of harvest festival has been celebrated every year since. It was canceled three times: in 1813 and 1814 because of the War of 1812 and 50 years later in 1863 during the Civil War because of rumors that the Morgan’s Raiders were passing through Ohio and the region.

“The Harvest Home Fair is first and foremost a tradition,” said President Pete Rebold. “People came here for the fair when they were kids, they remember what it was like, and they want it to stay the same.”

Syrian Shriners drove miniature Ford cars along Harrison Avenue in a final Harvest Home Parade.  The Shriners and their miniature vehicles are a staple of the annual parade, which kicks off the Harvest Home Fair.

The parade of the harvest house

The parade is one of these traditions. For most West Siders, fall rolls over to Harrison Avenue and North Bend Road to Harvest Home Park. Garden chairs are left intact along the parade route starting Tuesday after Labor Day, marking out privileged vantage points. The parade begins at 6 p.m. on Thursday, September 6.

The West Siders take their Harvest Home parade seriously, and it is a tradition to showcase your real estate to catch the festivities on Harrison Avenue long before the parade starts on Thursday night.

This year’s parade will continue with the celebration of the Cheviot theme. The grand marshals are the mayors of Cheviot, and former mayor J. Michael Laumann and current mayor Sam Keller will represent the town’s leadership in the parade.

Laumann, the 10th mayor of Cheviot, was elected to Cheviot city council in 1973 and became chairman of the council in 1982. He became mayor in 1983 upon the death of mayor Louis Von Holle, Laumann was mayor until his retired in 2003.

Keller was elected to council in 1993 and became chairman of the council in 1994. He was elected mayor in 2004 and continues to serve the city as mayor.

Former Mayor Donald Bennett, the eighth mayor of Cheviot, was mayor from 1968 to 1971. He will not participate in the parade but is honored as Grand Marshal.

On the Thursday following the parade, there will be free admission to Harvest Home Park, which will be open from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. and $ 2 beer.

As the sun sets, the lights come on at the Harvest Home Fair in Cheviot.

Entertainment

There is entertainment throughout the fair. Thursday night, 90 Proof Twang occurs from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. On Friday, upbeat dance rock music by Marsha Brady with covers of songs from artists such as Maroon 5, Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars offers music from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

On Saturdays, there will be performances by the Oak Hills Band from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., and performances by the high school choir from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Nick Netherton Band, covering everything from Commodores to country, performs from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Elementree Livity Project, whose sound is described as “old school rock ‘n’ roll with jam and roots on a solid foundation of reggae “, closes the stage, performing from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

On Sundays, the Westside Community Band performs from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. and Fin Tan, performing a wide variety of traditional, current and original Celtic music from 2:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Free shuttle service

A free shuttle will run between all parking lots and Harvest Home Park Friday through Sunday for those who don’t want the trouble of finding a parking space. The bus runs between Factory Direct West Town Center, next to Home Depot at 6300 Glenway Ave., and Harvest Home Park.

There is also a shuttle from Sam’s Club on North Bend Road to I-74.

The shuttles will make round trips approximately every 15 minutes and will operate Friday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday from noon to 11 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m.

General exhibits give residents of all ages a chance to shine.  Emma Bruggemeyer won the Best in Show award for the drawing she submitted to the art show at a previous Harvest Home Fair.

More than parades and cotton candy

The fair has raised nearly $ 3 million which has been donated to the community since 1939.

Community contributions included improvements to Harvest Home Park, tornado relief, donations to St. Francis-St. George Hospital, improvements to community parks, playgrounds in community schools, improvements to the Gamble-Nippert YMCA and various shelters in parks and other gathering spaces.

Organizers say the fair needs more volunteers like David Evans, a driver from Rumpke who was killed in an accident this year.  He worked annually at the Coke booth with the Key Clubs at La Salle High School and the former Mother of Mercy High School at the Harvest Home Fair.  They plan to honor his services at this year's fair.

Volunteers lead the fair

President Rebold says the future of the fair rests with the community.

Rebold is president of the fair this year, and he will also be at the helm next year. But he hopes that next year he will mentor a volunteer from the community who is ready to take charge of the fair in the future.

The Cheviot-Westwood Kiwanis group will not be able to maintain the fair without more community members stepping in to help organize the fair, they said. Join the Harvest Home Fair Association and contribute your skills. For more information call 513-662-0524 or visit Harvesthomefair.com.

“It’s a community event,” Rebold said. “If this is important to the community, people are going to have to come forward to make sure this continues.”


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