VERSAILLES — Brian Henry, this year’s chairman of Versailles Poultry Days set for June 10-12, said this is the 65th anniversary year for the festival.
And, as they do every five years, organizers are once again inviting all past chairmen and Miss Chicks to ride in the float in Saturday’s Grand Parade which gets underway at 11 a.m. And, for the first time, former Little Miss Poultry Days, have been added to the list of honorees.
“Seventy-three will be coming back for the parade,” Henry said. “We have three floats for them.”
The chairman said another new feature to this year’s festival is the switch to Big O’s Amusement Co.
According to Henry, the Social Tent, in the past, dealt with Anheuser-Busch products, offering Bud Light and Busch Light, and will now also feature MillerCoors products. And, MillerCoors is also sponsoring the tent, which will be the scene of a lot of entertainment throughout the four-day festival.
The festival itself officially opens at 3 p.m. on Friday, June 10 at the social tent.
Poultry Days is always packed with many activities and entertainment for people of all ages to enjoy. In addition to the Grand Parade, there will be the Antique Car and Tractor Parade at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.
The village, Henry said, will host the 35th annual Ultimate Frisbee Tournament, which is one of the top tournaments in the nation. Some of the other activities will include: Miss Chick and Little Miss Poultry Days contests, free Kiddie Tractor Pull, 5K Run, rides and games for all ages, a vendor area, cake and egg contests, flower show, photography and art shows along with many other family-friendly events.
“Returning for 2016, the Darke County Photography show will be back for their fourth year at Poultry Days and the festival’s 5K continues to grow as a member of the Darke County Wellness Challenge,” he said. “Also back for 2016 are the Bear Hollow Woodcarvers.”
He went on, “The FFA will have a tractor simulator, a milk cow simulator and a petting zoo Saturday and Sunday. They will also have various speakers giving demonstrations on Sunday.”
Henry said the committee is looking to sell more than 26,000 barbecued chicken dinners throughout the weekend.
“That’s 800 higher than last year,” he said.
Poultry Days is an annual community festival which began in 1952 to celebrate the area’s history as a leading poultry producer. It is always held the second full weekend in June.
Henry said this is his eighth year on the Poultry Days Board. Serving with him in the chairs are: Kevin Kissinger, first vice chair; Jeff Lyme, second vice; Alex Luthman, third vice chair; and Lucas Subler, fourth vice chair. Past chairman is Brian Pearson.
The son of the late Joseph Sr. and Dolores (Dapore) Henry, the chairman grew up on a dairy farm.
“We will be saluting the American farmers,” Henry said. “The farm was a big influence on how I grew up and my work ethic. We want to pay tribute to that.”
Henry, who has worked at GTI for 20 years, graduated from Versailles High School in 1984 and Ohio State University in 1988. He is a member of St. Denis Catholic Church, Versailles, Versailles Eagles Lodge and the St. Denis Knights of Columbus.