The 40th Bell Tower Festival this weekend is themed “Retro with a Twist” for good reason. The festival has been planned not by Greene County Chamber and Tourism, but by a committee of volunteers headed by Pete Russell. Starting with nothing but good ideas, the committee solicited donations for start-up funds, hoping the 2019 festival will be profitable and provide funding for a 2020 festival.
The “retro” in the theme refers to returning to the original intent of the festival, to provide family fun in Jefferson. The “twist” is new things added to make the festival more attractive to a new generation.
The festival will again open with a ceremony awarding the Bell Tower of Fame Award. This year’s recipient is Charlie Porter, Jefferson High Class of 1965, is one of three entrepreneurs who started Medicap Pharmacies.
The opening ceremony will begin Friday at 6:30 pm on the Plaza Stage on the south side of the courthouse. A reception for Porter will follow in the courthouse rotunda.
Missing from the Friday schedule is a barbecue.
Also missing from the festival is a gated beverage garden, aka beer tent, with a cover charge.
Instead, beer will be sold at the Bell Tower Brew Station at the corner of Lincoln Way and Chestnut St. Persons with proper ID will receive a wristband, and those wearing wristbands will be allowed to carry and drink beer on the courthouse square.
The Bell Tower Brew Station will be open Friday from 6 to 10 pm and Saturday from 12:30 pm to 1 am Sunday.
The musical entertainment that was part of the beverage garden will be on the Plaza Stage and will be free. Hawk McIntyre will open the Friday entertainment at 7:30 pm, followed by the music/comedy duo of Felix and Fingers Dueling Pianos at 9 pm.
Saturday evening entertainment will be opened by Cami Bradley, a finalist in Season 8 of America’s Got Talent, at 6:30. Taylor King will follow at 7:15, followed by the Jay Clyde Band from 9 pm to 1 am Sunday.
The Bill Riley Talent Show is slated for Saturday at 5 pm on the Plaza Stage.
Jefferson, Jefferson-Scranton and Greene County graduates are invited to Reunion Rendezvous on the north side of the courthouse Saturday from 12:30 to 3 pm. Deal’s hard cider will be available and the Brew Station will be open as well.
Middle school students are invited to play black light dodge ball at 6 pm in the middle school gym. There will be a dance for middle schools at the Greene County Community Center from 8 to 10:30 pm.
The Rotary Club of Jefferson’s Bell Tower Festival parade will step off from Greene County High School at 11 am Saturday and follow the usual route, north on Chestnut, west on Lincoln Way, and south on Vine St to Greene County Middle School.
The Isiserettes drum and dance corps will be in the parade and will perform at 1 pm on Lincoln Way.
Click here for a complete schedule.