Fair to offer diverse lineup

Photo courtesy of Anthony Mossburg New Matamoras native Anthony Mossburg, who now lives and works in Columbus, will perform Saturday at the Washington County Fair.

The Washington County Fair will be a homecoming of sorts for musician Anthony Mossburg, a New Matamoras native who is currently living in Columbus. Mossburg, an award-winning singer/songwriter with four albums under his belt, will perform Saturday at noon. He is just one of several musicians with local ties who will be featured at this year’s fair.

“This will be the first time I’ve played at the Washington County Fair but it’s always great to come home and see some familiar faces,” Mossburg said. “I think it’s awesome that they’re supporting local artists because, you know, most of the big name artists started out that way.”

Mossburg said he plans to have fun during his two-hour Saturday set, playing music and connecting with the crowd. He will also spend some time with friends and family in New Matamoras before performing again in the area at the Ohio River Sternwheel Festival.

Most of the music will be performed on stage near the fair board office right off the midway.

Phase 2, from Caldwell, is a family act that has performed in Marietta many times. Most recently, they performed at the Noble County Fair.

“The crowds are usually good,” said Scott Palagyi who, with his wife, Andi; sister, Molly; and parents, Drew and Joletta, make up the quintet. Together they play country, classic rock and blues.

“We were all part of different groups and then came together to form this one; it’s not as bad as people make it out to be, performing with your family,” Palagyi joked. “We’ve played all our lives and when you love it, you just want to do it all the time.”

Phase 2 will perform twice: Sunday at 2 p.m. and Monday at noon.

While these groups are known locally and have their own fan bases, it was a conscious effort on the part of the fair board to not spend thousands on big name acts. It’s all a part of a bigger picture to change things up and bring back events that are more family-friendly and community-oriented.

“We’ve gotta get the music back in there but we can’t go with the $50,000 to 60,000 acts,” said Donnie Burke, a board member with ties to many of the musicians, including his father, Don Burke, with the band The Wild Ride. “We want to start smaller and highlight some of the local talent and work our way back up.”

Along with music and dancing, other entertainment and attractions will include new rides by Cromer Amusements; horse, tractor and ATV pulls; Little Prince and Princess contest; an Iron Chef competition in the Junior Fair Building; farm chore relay; and cake eating contests. A traveling mural honoring the country’s veterans and first responders will also be on display courtesy of The Spirit of America’s Story and the Veterans Service Commission.

On Saturday at 4 p.m., the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP) and The Real Popfusion out of Cleveland will present Rock’N in Ohio, a one-hour interactive educational program that celebrates the state, Washington County and Ohio’s natural gas and crude oil industry. The free program includes family games, challenges and trivia set to popular music.

For more information about this year’s Washington County Fair entertainment, visit washcountyfair.com.