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Published: Sunday, 7/29/2001

Village swells with pride, thousands of festival-goers

Under the big top, a troupe of baton-twirling girls, the Twirling Sophisticates, danced up a storm to round after round of applause.

And over at the dunking tank, the Eastwood High School cheerleaders took their turns getting plopped into a vat of well water.

“It's getting just a little dirty in there,” said 15-year-old Courtney Miller as she pulled herself back onto her collapsible seat. “That's because kids have been throwing candy in. Cotton candy will do that to water.”

The season for summer fairs is here. And there are few such annual celebrations of hometown pride, cooperation, and fun larger than Stony Ridge's - larger in proportion to the size of their community, that is.

This unincorporated village of 200 souls, straddling U.S. 20 in Wood County's Troy Township, attracted an estimated 10,000 visitors Friday to its Stony Ridge Summer Festival, according to organizers. Yesterday's attendance was expected to be double that figure or more. The fair ends at 8 p.m. today.

“We've been just unbelievably busy,” said Sandy Minarik, president of the Stony Ridge Civic Association, which has been putting on the fair for 29 years. “It's the good food and entertainment, and people just love the weather.”

The nonprofit civic association also owns the fair's venue, the Troy Township-Stony Ridge Community Park. Fair profits, usually $5,000 to $10,000, are used to maintain and improve the park.

A big draw is the large assortment of flea marketers - 200 of them selling everything from quilted handbags, to T-shirts, to cowboy boots, to serapes, to birdhouses and bentwood chairs.

So much to choose from, so relatively little time.

Given such a selection, Janis Jones wasn't quite sure what to buy. “It's a little overwhelming,” the Bowling Green woman said.

Donna Little of Toledo said she was looking for a coffee mug bearing an illustration of Elvis. “It's a gag gift I'd give to a friend,” she explained.

Flea marketer Larry Carte is super-specialized in his area, which happens to be sandpaper, which is all he sells. He stood behind tables laden with stacks of belt sandpaper, and allowed as how he probably did know everything there is to know about his product.

“See that blue zirconium over there? It's top of the line. It lasts 50 times longer,” said Mr. Carte of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.

Another flea marketer, Toni Davis, drove in from Chicago with a van full of books, which she neatly displayed. “It was a tossup between coming here or going to a fair in Wisconsin,” she said. “I came here. I have friends in Toledo.”



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