Annual Rural Valley festival kicks off Thursday

| Monday, July 21, 2014, 10:15 a.m.

Thursday kicks off the 25th annual Shannock Valley Community Festival in Rural Valley with plenty of family fun.

The three-day festival will be held at the Shannock Valley Park along Route 85 and will offer something for all ages, with activities including games, rides, pet contests, fireworks, live music — and a likely appearance from a couple of reality TV personalities.

Jeremiah Raber and Mama Mary Schmucker from TLC's “Breaking Amish” are expected to attend the event, said Joe Weister, festival co-chairman.

“Jeremiah seems really excited about it and will be selling T-shirts,” Weister said, adding that Raber and Schmucker plan to participate in Friday's parade.

The parade, which will wind along Main Street in Rural Valley, is always a big hit and features fire trucks, marching bands, tractors, classic cars and horses, Weister said.

And for all those pet owners who are itching to show off their animal's unique talents, there will be plenty of chances on Thursday to have them strut their stuff.

Humans and their furry companions can compete at 5:45 p.m. in four categories, including best matched, funniest, most patriotic and most creative pet and owner. A pet talent show will follow at 6 p.m.

Dachshunds will have their own chance to shine at 7 p.m. that evening during the 4th annual Weiner Dog Race. The dogs race two at a time from one horseshoe pit to another. Winners will be awarded with dog treats and prizes donated by area businesses.

“We usually have a good turnout,” said Tiffany Harkleroad, race organizer.

Shot records are required along with the $20 registration fee to participate in the race.

Festival proceeds, helped along by business sponsors, go into a fund used to pay for next year's event.

“The fireworks alone cost up to $6,000,” Weister said.

The festival helps nonprofits such as churches and the Rural Valley Volunteer Fire Department raise funds by allowing them to sell food. Some of the items for sale include homemade barbecued ribs and chicken, pierogies, sandwiches, fries and baked goods.

“We have a nice variety of vendors,” said Pam Steffy, festival chairwoman.

She noted that vendors will be selling a range of handmade crafts as well as food.

Saturday's all-day event kicks off with a 5K race at 9 a.m. and a mountain bike race at 11 a.m., followed by a car cruise, live music, karaoke and fireworks at 10 p.m.

“The festival pulls the community together,” Steffy said. “It's people from our community helping others within the local community. It pulls everybody together and helps businesses by bringing in visitors.”

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or

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