CAMDEN — Camden’s 33rd Black Walnut Festival will be held this weekend, Saturday, Oct. 16 and Sunday, Oct. 17. After being cancelled in 2020, this year’s Festival is back with an attitude and a new slogan, “A Celebration of Nuts.”
“We wanted this year’s Festival to make up for the lack of one last year and life’s craziness since. We think it will do that and then some,” said Debbie Mason, Communications Chair for Camden Comeback, who assumed the organizational reins for the Festival this year.
The 2021 Black Walnut Festival begins at 9 a.m. both days and features 120 craft, antique and other vendors. Organizers saw a significant increase in vendor interest this year and sold out of vendor spaces by mid-September.
The Black Walnut Festival parade begins at 10 a.m. Saturday morning and the fun continues for the rest of the weekend with great entertainment, a car show, baking contest and auction, chain saw artist demonstrations, kiddie tractor pull, a beer garden, an art show of Preble Shawnee student art, 50/50 and various basket raffles and more than 14 food vendors.
“We have our great returning food vendors plus several new-to-us food vendors who offer just about everything you’d want to eat from traditional burgers & hot dogs, to gyros, BBQ to fish dinners, Cajun cuisine to Greek, loaded potatoes to pork chop dinners, pizza to bourbon chicken, funnel cakes to kettle corn, lemonade shake-ups to shaved ice, pumpkin rolls to our own Camden Family Lions Club’s famous hand-cranked ice cream. The Festival is more than great crafts it’s a food fest too,” Mason added.
The festival also includes lots of fun activities for kids and families — all free thanks to generous sponsors — including face painting, a caricature artist, barrel train rides, a balloon artist, yard games, music, art classes, a petting zoo, and a fun photo prop. In addition, there will be scheduled tours of the renovated and soon-to-be renovated areas of the historic Town Hall.
New this year is a Saturday evening community concert. The Festival’s craft booth section will close at 5 p.m. on Saturday, but food vendors located near the entertainment tent and beer garden will remain open until 9 p.m. so attendees can grab some dinner or great snacks, have a caricature drawn or their faces painted, and an enjoy an evening with music provided by local bands.
“We want to thank Camden’s Mayor and Village Council who have been hugely supportive and made several upgrades and additions to Shank Park. The park is located in the heart of the festival and is the location of this year’s entertainment tent and beer garden.”
Camden recently installed a concrete stage pad, picnic tables, electric and lighting in the park. The development of Shank Park, located on land donated to Camden by siblings Jim Shank and Carol Shank Colclasure, is ongoing, and the park will be used for summer concerts and other activities throughout the year.
“We appreciate Camden’s efforts to get so many improvements ready in time for the festival. They are great partners,” said Mason.
In addition to festival fare, Camden Comeback is offering their popular Haunted Camden tours again this year on Friday and Saturday evenings at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. The wagon tour travels through Camden while participants learn of strange, scary and true tales from Camden’s rich and eerie past. Each tour includes a hands-on educational demonstration with local paranormal group Southern Ohio Supernatural.
Visitors will find more information about the Black Walnut Festival, a schedule of events and and festival map at: https://camdencomeback.org/black-walnut-festival/.
Camden Comeback is a non-profit organization dedicated to Camden’s revitalization through its support of Camden’s businesses and non-profit organizations, coordinating and supporting community events and activities and fostering a sense of shared community.