Pottery Festival celebrates milestone

The Tri-State Pottery Festival, held throughout the downtown streets of East Liverpool, is celebrating a milestone in 2018 — 50 years.

This three-day event, usually held around this same time in June, is so much more than carnival rides and food vendors, which do attract many people to the venue.

But there also is the opportunity to experience the rich history of our area, which is sprinkled throughout the festival’s happenings.

And honestly, it’s our area’s pottery heritage that started not only this festival, but this life along the river.

According to organizers, the theme with each Pottery Festival is “to bring local communities together from throughout the Tri-State Area in a celebration of the industry from which these communities literally owe their origin.”

Throughout the year, including this 50th edition, they’ve succeeded.

Consider what’s available: Local historian Tim Brookes is offering a walking tour of the downtown; tours of the historic Thompson House are available; the Lou Holtz-Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame allows visitors a chance to step back in time with its many historical pieces; the East Liverpool Area Community & Learning Center has a large exhibit of Hans Hacker paintings as well as Pottery Festival plates and mugs; and the Museum of Ceramics provides visitors the opportunity to see a collection of the wares produced in the area once known as the “Pottery Capitol of the World.”

The doorknob contest is original to the TSPF; there also will be storefront window displays throughout the downtown offering a look into the history of our area; and the 24th Annual Pottery Auction on Sunday at the ELHSAA Clock Tower attracts many pottery collectors.

Keeping our history involved in the happenings is important and is being continued. But as mentioned, there is something for all members of the family.

The popular “Pottery Idol” returns. This competition allows locals a chance to step on stage and perform. A youth talent show also is scheduled.

There’s the popular baby contest, a rose show, cornhole, the baking competition, a car show, chalk art contest, hamburger eating, jump rope, pet show, stuffed animal contest, tall tales, car and bike show/run, and the beard and mustache contest. Plus a 5K.

And of course, the schedule of local musicians is top notch.

The festivities officially get started Thursday morning on the steps of the Museum of Ceramics at Fifth and Broadway, where Faith Vassar will be crowned 2018 queen by East Liverpool Mayor Ryan Stovall.

It’s nearly nonstop for three days with one of the last scheduled events being the parade on Saturday, always popular and heavily-attended. And don’t miss the fireworks Saturday night.

The people behind the scenes need to be commended for the undertaking of this annual event. Funds are limited, but it appears these volunteers always are out to make each Pottery Festival better than the last.

This is the 50th such celebration. Stop downtown and visit. Enjoy. And may we suggest experiencing a bit of the past, while enjoying the present-day Pottery Festival.