By Ronda Gregory
News & Journal Staff Writer
The 21st Annual Benedum Festival will again this year be an entertainment explosion for people from all around to enjoy. The two-day festival begins at noon on Friday, July 10th with the opening of a new attraction, the Oil & Gas Expo, and ends Saturday evening with an array of colorful fireworks.
A myriad of entertainment and delights will be sandwiched in between; music, food, cars, super heroes and more. “There’s something for everyone,” stated festival Chairman Jason McCall.
The festival, sponsored by the City of Bridgeport, is launching some new attractions. Including the Oil & Gas Expo, there will be a talent contest for middle and high school students of Harrison County.
But the festival, in honor of philanthropist Michael Benedum, will still present its beloved staples, such as the fireworks, live music, craft and food vendors, the Bridgeport Kiwanis Free Fishing Derby, the Bridgeport Lions Club Chicken Roast, a 5K Run, a car show, the Pet Parade, a puppet show and other children’s delights. Even Olaf and Spider-Man will be on hand to entertain the kids. And pageant royalty will be introduced.
Children and adults can also enjoy the carnival rides, games galore, and much more.
Live music Friday will feature Johnny Bryan & Aaron Henry, Prowler, a southern rock and blues band, and jazz from Seth Maynard and Osmosis. On the stage Saturday will be Appalachian acoustic artist Rus Reppert, Lauren Starkey performing rock, Bullets and Bracelets, and southern rock artist Greg Harrison.
“We like to have a variety,” McCall said. “My goal is to include as many music genres as possible, something that appeals to everyone. We want everyone to feel included.”
Prior to the main event days, the Benedum Fellows Banquet is set for Thursday, July 9th.
Bridgeport native McCall, who’s been chairman for three years and says he’s only missed a few festivals his entire life, says the festival is a great bargain. “Almost everything is free. The support comes from our loyal businesses.”
The only things not free are the food and rides.
McCall encourages people to enjoy the summertime with family and friends. “Take a break,” he stated. “Come down. Get something to eat, enjoy the great music and other entertainments and seeing your friends and neighbors you usually may not get to see. Let life slow down a little bit.”
“It’s a wonderful family atmosphere,” McCall added, explaining there’s no alcohol sold or served at the event.
For more information about the festival and for the latest schedule updates, which are subject to change, visit BridgeportBebedumFestival.com.
By Ronda Gregory