Annual event takes place Father's Day weekend

Visitors to the Washboard Music Festival are often surprised by the sounds that the metal-and-wood laundry tool creates.

“It sounds like a whole percussion section,” said Jacqui Barnett, one of the founders of the annual event that takes place each June in Logan.

The Father's Day weekend festival, which was started 18 years ago to attract visitors to the Hocking County seat, celebrates the music produced from washboards and pays homage to the Logan-based Columbus Washboard Co. The business, which Barnett and other investors bought and moved from Grandview Heights in 1999, is the only remaining U.S. washboard manufacturer. The factory is open for free tours during the festival.

The Washboard Music Festival also features music, food and children's activities. Bluegrass, jazz and jug bands from around the country travel to Logan to perform on multiple stages throughout the three-day event. Musicians stroll through the crowd, engaging visitors as they meander past food booths and street vendors. Attendees can purchase food from local restaurants and Ohio-based vendors, and artists and craftspeople sell their wares along the downtown streets.

The festival always includes activities for children, Barnett said. Kids can see a magic show, bounce on inflatables, meet a balloon artist and have their face painted. This year, organizers are adding a children's area that will include old-fashioned games and pastimes. Kids can try their hand—or hips—at hula hooping and shooting marbles. “We thought this might be something different that they might enjoy,” Barnett said.

The intent is to create “an old hometown feeling,” said Shaun North, president of the Washboard Music Festival organization. “We want to entertain the family. It's a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. We want to inspire family fun.”