Sunday, September 09, 2001

Damfest grows bigger each year

Beer and climbing wall are what's new

By Jenny Callison
Enquirer Contributor

[photo] Wakeboard competitor Adam Clark of West Chester performs acrobatics on the Great Miami River Saturday.
(Ernest Coleman photo)
| ZOOM |
        HAMILTON — DamFest, now in its 13th year, has developed its share of traditions.

        Crowds have come to expect spectacular acrobatics from champion-level water skiing and wakeboard ensembles. Folks look forward to seeing logs sliced and diced by chainsaw-wielding lumberjacks. And today they gather at the river for the annual DamFest Duck Race.

        But this year's organizers have tweaked the community festival to appeal to even more area residents, and are hoping for record crowds.

        “We've got an Army climbing wall, and a concert by Big In Iowa this evening,” festival director Pat Burg said Saturday.

        DamFest 2001 has also added beer to its refreshments roster.

        “After a lot of discussion we decided to try the beer garden again,” said Jennifer Ekey, director of the Fort Hamilton Healthcare Foundation, which helps distribute the festival proceeds.

        “We had one in 1998, when the (water ski) Nationals were here. It's a restricted area and we've got security. We'll see how it goes.“

   • What: DamFest 2001.
   • When: Noon-6 p.m. today.
   • Where: Neilan Boulevard along the Great Miami River, Hamilton. Health Fair is in MU's Schwarm Auditorium.
   • Admission: Free.
   • Parking: $2 at Miami Hamilton and International Paper.
   • Information: 867-2282 or
        DamFest organizers have been reluctant to sell alcoholic beverages because they promote the festival as a family event. But the festival also wants to maximize profits to support community health projects.

        She said the purpose of DamFest is to be a fund-raiser, to present a family festival, and to promote health and wellness.

        Last year's event netted more than $25,000, which purchased a bone scan machine and four defibrillators for local life squads.

        Today's entertainment lineup includes a morning wakeboard tournament, three performances by Scheer's Lumberjack Shows and three water ski team championships. There's musical entertainment all afternoon and a children's health fair from noon to 4 p.m.

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