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Community Celebration

Owenton gears up for annual
‘Sweet Owen Day’

Festival features music, food, vendors and much more

OWENTON, Ky. (September 2017) – Owen County Tourism Director Joyce DuVall is a woman of many hats. She is the go-to person whenever any person or group needs help spreading the word about a festival or event in this beautiful rural Kentucky county. The next event coming to her town of Owenton is Sweet Owen Days, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 16, on the Courthouse Square, beginning at 7 a.m. DuVall will promote the event but will also be one of the art exhibitors.

Sweet Owen Day

• Saturday, Sept. 16 in Owenton, Ky.
• Events begin at 7 a.m. featuring contests, live music, food vendors, arts and crafts and more
• Information:
(502) 563-5050

DuVall has been photographing rural scenes and nature around Owen County for years, and her work has been shown in exhibits in several places from Louisville to Columbus and Berea. She is a former member of the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen but stopped taking part in their events because it required too much time on the road.
She decided to focus her camera closer to home to save the images of things that won’t be around forever.
“ I can’t believe how many pictures I have taken of things that are gone already,” said DuVall.
“I got in my first exhibit with black and white,” she said. “It is my favorite. You can see so much more with black and white. It took me a second year to get in with color, I was just learning.”
Many Owen County residents have already seen her work. Her photographs are in every room of the Tourism Bureau, including the restroom. The photography does not distract from her efforts to promote Sweet Owen Days.
“The event starts with a pancake breakfast at 7 a.m. at the Odd Fellows Hall,” DuVall said. “It is a big fundraiser for the Rotary Club this year. They use the money for backpacks and shoes for kids and their scholarship student loan program. The schools decide who gets the shoes and other items through the youth service center. We buy shoes at least once a year. Kids always need shoes. The Rotary is also starting work on plans for veteran’s memorial.”

Photo by John Sheckler

Owen County Tourism Director Joyce DuVall is also an artist who displays her paintings at the annual festival.

The pancake breakfast is a good example of how groups in Owen County work together for events.
Mark Stallons of Owen Electric serves as this year’s chairman for Sweet Owen Days. He remembers his first year at the festival.
“I was there to serve breakfast with the Rotary and heard the bands playing,” he recalls. “I called my wife and told her to bring chairs down and have lunch. I stayed until 10 when they closed down.”
Stallons said he is happy to see the festival grow. “We are starting a petting zoo this year,” he said. “It is good to get everything together in a great setting at old courthouse and the entire block around the courthouse.
Stallons was slightly apprehensive about being the event chairman. “The first time I was chairman, I thought, ‘I hope I don’t have to do all this,’ ” he said. “But I found lots of support. People just take it and run. County and city people from all areas of the county get together to help. All the people who have chaired in past, stay on the committee to help.”
Another person at the festival has fond memories of his first Sweet Owen Days festival.
Wesley Petzinger plays guitar in the Down Town Country Band. “We play turn of the century blues Americana bluegrass instrumentation type songs,” he said. “We play 95 percent original music. It is a great community gathering. It is getting larger as all good things do.”
He continued, “My parents went here when we lived here in the early 70s. It has always been high spirits, excitement and good people and atmosphere. It is a family community event and a really great time.”
The Down Town Country Band plays at 6 p.m., but there is music all day starting at 11 a.m. One of the musical acts is Ashley Renee, who has sung the National Anthem at NASCAR events.
The schedule is loaded with other activities all day long. A 5K walk run event starts at 8 a.m.
People can pre-register for the 5K at the Sweet Owen Days Facebook page, DuVall advised. “There are several 5K age divisions. It is a run walk event and groups can join. Companies can sponsor teams.”
There is a corn hole tournament with cash prizes. There is a small registration fee that is used for the prize money. “Anyone who wants can start and play for the fun of it, and then they get into the serious players,” DuVall said. “There are some serious corn hole team playing going on.” 
Food is a major part of Sweet Owen Days. There are several food vendors and restaurants.
Barbecue steak sandwiches are served. At Bird Dogs Coffee and over at Family Billiards restaurant, they will serve hamburgers, fish tail and homemade milk shakes.”
Another hometown favorite is Tricky Rickey’s. They have a grill person doing hot dogs, burgers and steaks on the grill, DuVall said.
Diamondback will close out the entertainment at 8 p.m. “Except for Diamondback, all the bands are local,” said Duvall. “The music goes until dark.”
There will be vendors, a Health Fair and kid zone activities, and art exhibits will continue until 5 p.m. There is a veteran’s recognition ceremony at 10 a.m. The Owen County Middle School will dedicate a historic marker honoring Owen County’s own Admiral Lee. He was a military man as well as a decorated Olympian in the rifle competition.

• Sweet Owen Days is sponsored by the Owen County Chamber of Commerce, Owen County Fiscal Court, the city of Owenton and the Owen County Tourism Commission. More information can be found at the Sweet Owen Days Facebook Page.

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