VERSAILLES - They might not be sporting beards or wearing camouflage, but the chairmen of this year’s Poultry Days Festival plan to carry out the theme “Cluck Dynasty, Happy Happy Happy.”
Shawn Peters, this year’s festival chairman, said the theme represents the true Cluck Dynasty, which after 63 years, is only getting stronger.
“Last year we talked after the festival we were thinking about a theme and talking about how we liked the television show Duck Dynasty and one guy on the committee, Luke Subler, shouted “Cluck Dynasty,” Peters said. “We said, ‘Perfect.’”
Peters, whose co-directors are Brian Pearson (first vice chairman), Brian Henry (second), Kevin Kissinger (third) and Jeff Lyme (fourth), said there are quite a few new things to be featured at the festival June 13-15 at the usual place, the old high school grounds.
“We will be having the Valley Exotics with pony rides, a petting zoo and reptile trailer; Rage and Rocko the Fire Prevention Dogs; a cornhole tournament; and a Miss and Mr. Super Fit Challenge on Friday night to test festival-goers physical fitness,” he said.
According to Peters, this year the festival will host the Welcome Home for Vietnam veterans, who will be riding in the parade on Saturday, with a welcome home tribute at 5 p.m. in the Versailles School Administration Building gym.
“There will possibly be 70 tractors and military displays on the grounds through the weekend,” he said.
Peters also reported that the 5K walk/run on Saturday morning will be part of the Wayne HealthCare Challenge.
“There will be antique car and tractor parade on Sunday as well as a free Kiddie Tractor Pull,” the chairman said. “The Darke County Photography Club will be holding its second show here and the Bear Hollow Woodcarvers will be having a show Saturday and Sunday.”
Peters said they are hoping to serve more than 25,000 chicken dinners throughout the weekend.
It has been over 10 years since the record number of 26,101 chicken dinners was sold in 2002. However, in recent years sales have been steadily increasing with 24,196 dinners sold in 2013.
The 2014 festival will include old favorites and plenty of new activities for the whole family. Poultry Days features two parades. The Grand Parade is at 11 a.m. on Saturday and is one of the largest parades in the area and, The Antique Car and Tractor Parade is at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday and is preceded by a car display. Harold and Deb Pohl have been selected as honorary parade marshals. This year the Grand Parade will include the welcome home to Darke County Vietnam Veterans.
The Robots are back. Area high school students from FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) will conduct a robot demonstration that is sure to wow spectators on Sunday.
Poultry days will be hosting a number of activities including, a 2-on-2 basketball tournament, flower show, cake and egg decorating contest and the famous Miss Chick and Little Miss Poultry Days pageants.
The Serendipity Moms will be hosting more than 70 vendors on the grounds. K of C Bingo, tractor displays, carnival games and rides will also be there. In additional to chicken, there will be favorite festival foods and the Versailles Band Boosters will be operating their food tent. Frisbees will also be flying, so be sure to catch a game as the Ultimate Frisbee tournament, the third largest in the U.S., returns to Versailles once again.
The Social Tent will host 11 musical groups with live entertainment starting early each day. Some old favorites and new talent will light up the stage with excitement. Festival headliners include Renegade, Higgins Madewell, Mark Cantwil, 8 Ball, Saw Creek, The MicStand Band, Frohna and Warner and Empty Tank. Peters said Taylor Marie Huffman, winner of the U.S. Karaoke Finals for 2013, will be singing with Renegade Friday night.
The adult beverage selection in the Social Tent will include Bud Light and Bud Select 55, a selection of craft beer and fine wines from The Winery at Versailles.
Poultry Days is a volunteer based, non-profit organization in Versailles, which has conducted an annual festival celebrating the area’s history in the Poultry industry since 1952. The festival is held at 459 S. Center St., Versailles, the second full weekend in June. For the festival schedule and event registration go to www.versaillespoultrydays.com.
Peters, a 1988 graduate of Ansonia High School, has been a member of the festival’s board of directors for nine years and has volunteered with Poultry Days for a total of 22 years.
Married to the former Sandy Didier, he and his wife have two children, Nathan, 19, and Cassie, 14.
The chairman is the son of John and Ruth Peters, and is a member of the Versailles Eagles Lodge. Having earned his computer science degree from Wright State University, he serves as technology coordinator for Ansonia and Mississinawa Valley Local Schools and resides in Versailles with his family.