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Kidron holds its sixth annual Red Beet Fest

Dominic Piacentini
Editor-in-Chief

The sixth annual Red Beet Fest celebrated all things beet this past Saturday in Kidron, Ohio. Farmers and gardeners from across Wayne County came together to compare their German Lutz beets, sample all of the latest beet recipes, and attend musical performances.

Although I was obviously interested upon hearing that historical dancing would be performed, I’m not entirely sure what it was that compelled me to drive to Kidron on a drizzly Saturday morning for a festival honoring beets (a vegetable I have never really cared for); I had no idea what I was getting myself into. After a few wrong turns, I saw the rather small farm lot with a humble sign announcing the “Beet Fest.”

I pulled into the parking lot, and my three friends and I were greeted by a gentlemen who asked, “Can you all walk well?” Since we could, he directed us behind the barn to the far end of the lot. At this point, we realized that we were some of the youngest visitors the Kidron Red Beet Fest had seen in quite some time.

We approached the community building uncertain, but once we walked in, all our apprehensions were forgotten because of the sound of an accordion trio and the muddy odor of root vegetables, to which I never quite acclimated. The former originated from the front of the building where The Swiss Echoes, featuring Leora Gerber, Elizabeth Geiser and Barb Steiner, were performing in their traditional Swiss outfits. The latter emanated from the tables holding every entrant’s largest German Lutz beet. The beets along this wall ranged from four to 16 pounds. The tables bearing the weight of these root vegetables, some with strikingly human forms and similar to the mandrakes in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, led me to another table with an array of beet dishes. I sampled shoestring beet salad, pickled beets, red beet eggs, beet chips, red velvet beet cake and Schloneger’s Homemade Ice Cream’s Unbeetable beet ice cream. There were still plenty of other recipes that I didn’t taste, such as beet juice and a “beetnik” cake.

I went to Kidron’s Red Beet Fest knowing I didn’t like beets. Nothing changed.

I found that the beet chips, red beet eggs and beet ice cream were, however, the most tolerable.

As we finished our plates, the Swiss Echoes were finishing their last song, “America the Beautiful.” As the singing accordionists exited the stage, Wayne County’s Madrigal Dancers gracefully took their place. The Madrigal Dancers perform music and dances from 17th-and-18th-century England. Every dancer’s costume is inspired by a particular historical and geographic location. Lucinda Sigrist, the administrative coordinator in Career Planning of the APEX, wore a gray dress and headdress typical of the fashion of Renaissance Spain. The Dancers’ seven-piece set consisted of many different dance styles, including “the Duke of Kent’s Waltz,” which is partly inspired by the events of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

On the first Saturday of every month, Artistic Director of the Madrigal Dancers Susan English hosts the Wooster Contra Dance program from 7-10 p.m. at the Valley College Grange Hall on Shreve Rd. The Contra Dance consists of Celtic music, longways set dances, square dances and mixers. English encourages anyone between ages eight and 88 to come participate in this aerobic and social dance.

Although the heaviest German Lutz beet on Saturday weighed 19.5 pounds, the gargantuan root was late to enter and was immediately disqualified; instead, Junior Vaughn won that honor with an also-impressive 18-pound beet. Vaughn, a second-year entrant, improved upon his previous year’s beet, which weighed only 10 pounds, and took home the prize, which included a towel inscribed with the words “You can’t beet this!”

Unfortunately, this was my first and last chance to catch the beet festival, but Kidron’s Red Beet Fest is held each year on the third Saturday of October. It is an opportunity all underclassmen should take advantage of in the coming years. Even if you don’t enjoy beets, there are still plenty of wonders to behold, like The Anonymous Blue Grass Band (and their sing-a-long, “The Red Beet Song”), a Beet Princess and kettle corn.

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