By JENNIFER MEIER
THE GOSHEN NEWS
There was something missing at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair this year — the arm wrestling tournament.
For the contestants from last year’s fair and anyone else who may have an interest, organizers of the Middlebury Summer Festival — which runs today through Saturday — are hosting a tournament under the direction of festival committee chairwoman Jennifer Prough. She also directs the county fair tournament.
“We had to cancel it due to logistics,” Prough said of the fair event. “Unfortunately, it just didn’t happen.”
With the help of arm wrestlers Roger Taylor and Scott Mast, both from Kosciusko County, Prough is bringing the competition to Middlebury Saturday.
“We could have as many as five or six weight classes,” Prough said. “And we will have a women’s division if there’s enough interest. It will definitely be interesting and very exciting.”
According to Prough, double-elimination competition allows for more matches and more chances for competitors to show their strength, technique, wrist endurance, and flexibility and reaction time.
“I’ve seen a match last four seconds and some longer than a minute,” Prough said. “I don’t know how (competitors) do it.”
Registration for the Saturday arm wrestling tournament is from 10 to 10:45 a.m., with the competition set from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Middlebury Summer Festival kicks off today in conjunction with the Classic Car Cruise-In at Das Dutchman Essenhaus from 4:30 to 8 p.m. Activities continue Friday, with vendors in downtown Middlebury open from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
“We are having a lot of new and different games this year for kids,” Prough said. “I think they’re going to be a big hit.”
Heading up many of those activities and games is Goshen resident Kelly Schrock.
“I was pretty excited when the committee asked me if I would do it,” Schrock said. “I grew up in Middlebury and the festival was part of my life.”
Schrock has had plenty of experience entertaining children through working with youngsters and games at Camp Mack in Milford for two years.
“I want to take things in a new direction,” Schrock said. “We will have relays for the older kids and a lot of fun little games for younger ones.”
Those include a bean bag toss, mini-golf, basketball, a wet sponge toss, and a chance for children to “shave” their dads or granddads. The “little shavers,” as Schrock calls them, will get a chance to put shaving cream on their dads’ faces and “shave” them with popsicle sticks.
Also scheduled Friday:
• Hey Kids, It’s Jamin, a seven-piece rock band made up of Northridge High School students, will perform from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the entertainment tent.
• The garden tractor pull, hosted by the Elkhart County Garden Tractor Pullers, begins at 6:30 p.m. on Railroad Street.
• More children’s games will take place from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. next to the fire station on Bristol Avenue.
• Dang!, a band founded by Northridge High School teachers, will perform from 8 to 10 p.m. in the entertainment tent.
• A teen dance is set from 8:30 to 10 p.m. at East Pavilion Park.
An all-you-can-eat pancake and sausage breakfast kicks off Saturday’s festivities. The breakfast will take place from 7 to 10 a.m. at the East Park Pavilion and is sponsored by members of Middlebury Church of the Brethren.
Other Saturday events include:
• Registration for a 5K walk and run, sponsored by the Elkhart County Board of Realtors, is from 7:30 to 8:15 a.m. with the run beginning at 8:30 a.m. and the walk at 8:45 a.m.
• The annual fishing tournament at the Essenhaus covered bridge begins at 9 a.m. with registration. Fishing begins at 9:30 and goes until 11 a.m.
• Participants in the Middlebury Music and Dance Academy will perform from 10 to 11 a.m.
• Arm wrestling tournament registration is from 10 to 10:45 a.m., with the competition from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• The Northridge High School show choirs, the Starlights and the Northern Lights perform from 11 a.m. until noon.
• The Festival Parade begins at 1 p.m. Dick and Jolinda Zook are the grand marshals. Following the parade will be a tae kwon do demonstration, a chance to meet the Distinguished Young Women of Middlebury and the presentation of parade awards.
• Singer and guitarist Marty Miles will perform original folk rock music from 3 to 5 p.m.
• From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., High Life will perform pop and rock music.
• Safety, a rock band made up of four Middlebury men, will play at the East Park Pavilion beginning at 7:30 p.m.
• The evening’s entertainment concludes with the Whistle Pigs, a seven-piece dance band playing contemporary, classic rock, jazz and rhythm and blues music. The Whistle Pigs will perform from 8 to 10 p.m.
Middlebury Summer Festival activities come to close at 5:30 p.m. Sunday with a community worship service in the entertainment tent. The event is sponsored by the Middlebury Ministerium.
For more information, visit the website www.middleburyfestivals.com.