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Thunder in the Ville returning this weekend in Wintersville

WINTERSVILLE — Volunteers behind Thunder in the Ville are hoping area residents will have a blast when the festival returns to the Jefferson County Airpark Friday and Saturday.

Mayor Mike Petrella said reviving the event has been one of his goals since he entered office in January and through the efforts of past chairman Tom Straka and many past and present volunteers and many donations, it’s becoming a reality.

Petrella said an assortment of food and other vendors are expected to be open for business starting at 4 p.m. Friday.

“There will be a little bit of everything. I don’t think anybody will be disappointed by the food selection,” he said, adding the Thunder in the Ville Committee will be selling sandwiches itself to raise funds for next year’s event.

Disc jockey Rico will be on hand from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, while WCDK-FM will conduct a live remote there from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and the Ron Retzer Trio will perform from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. that day.

The festival grounds will open at noon Saturday, with a car show to be held there at 6 p.m.

Petrella said members of Crossroads Christian Church have planned some activities for children, and a volunteer has offered to do face painting.

The event will conclude with the fireworks display by the American Fireworks Co., an Ohio-based business.

Petrella said representatives of the company will determine whether inclement weather will interfere with the show, but there presently are no plans to postpone them.

The pyrotechnics were the inspiration for the festival, which ran for 20 years before going on hiatus in 2018.

Since then, the Jefferson County Animal Shelter opened not far from the airport’s entrance, which has caused some to question whether the fireworks will disturb the facility’s four-legged residents.

Petrella said the fireworks will be launched beyond the airport’s runway, which puts them some distance from the shelter while still being visible to attendees and hopefully will lessen their impact on the shelter animals.

He expressed thanks to the many businesses, groups and individuals who have made contributions of all sizes.

“There were so many donations. We had a lot of people who were very generous,” said Petrella, who added Cedar One Realty was a major supporter.

He also voiced appreciation for the cooperation of the Jefferson County Airpark board and its manager, Brian Thaxton; the Cross Creek Township Trustees, who also made a monetary donation; and local law enforcement agencies.

He added Cross Creek Township and Wintersville Police and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department have been working together to prepare for the event.

Petrella said he and others involved with Thunder in the Ville are learning as they go, so some changes may be made when it returns next year.

But he hopes everyone will be as excited as he is to see its return.

“This isn’t strictly a Wintersville event. We want everyone in the community and the county to come out,” he said.

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