SPRING VALLEY — The Spring Valley Potato Festival is celebrating 40 years on Main Street 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7 and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8.
All are invited to taste the festival’s main attractions — from potato soup to potato candy to potato cookies and more. Visitors can also shop at arts and crafts booths and listen to music in Bledsoe Park at Thompson Pavilion. The family-friendly festival will also feature carnival rides, children’s games, Kiddie Tractor Pull and a pet parade.
The event will kick off Saturday with the 19th Annual 5K Tater Trot Run/Walk at 9 a.m.
Registration for the run/walk on the Little Miami Scenic Trail Bike Path is $20. Participants can register the day of the run/walk between 8 and 8:45 a.m. Packet pickup is 8 a.m. race day at Walton Park at the shelter house.
The male and female to set the 2017 course record will receive a $25 cash prize. The first three male and female winners in each age category will receive a potato festival special award.
Spring Valley also honors its citizens of the year during the festival. Nancy Steen and Pam Wehby are this year’s honorees.
Steen has been photographer for the festival since year one. She grew up in Spring Valley, went to Spring Valley schools and graduated from Xenia High School in 1969. She learned to ride horses as a kid and turned this into a lifelong passion, helping neighbors care for their horses and then working at San Souci Stables for the last 25 years. She takes care of about 15 horses on a daily basis.
Steen has also worked with the Greene County Sheriff’s Office on a search and rescue team, sometimes on horseback and sometimes on foot. She was part of a team that located a missing person’s body at Sugarcreek Reserve last year. In that capacity, she is a sworn-in deputy but unpaid except for some insurance coverage. She’s trained with deputies and police dogs and has also been through disaster training.
Wehby works at Spring Valley UM Church and has been involved with the Spring Valley Library summer reading program. She was born in Harveysburg and graduated from Lebanon High School. She went to Miami University and earned her masters at Wright State University. Wehby began her career in education as a substitute teacher in Spring Valley. When the principal’s wife was hiring Title One teacher, she applied and taught Title One reading at Spring Hill from 1975 to 1979.
She then took the position of readiness first grade teacher at Shawnee, where she remained for 20 years until she retired in 1999. She began attending SVUM Church in 1981 and was quickly put to work as an early elementary Sunday school teacher. She has been a choir member, worked on the Biblical garden, led the youth group for a few years, helped with many of the church turkey suppers, funeral and special dinners, and ice cream socials.
During the festival, Barrett Concrete House Museum will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 12-4 p.m. Sunday.
A library book sale will be held 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the corner of Walnut and Vine Streets.
Attendees can park their cars at Walton Park. Walton Park is located at the corner of State Route 725 and Main Street right off of State Route 42 South.
Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498.