Mayor Ron Bischof is requesting large trucks serving the natural gas industry avoid Barnesville next week as the 50th annual Pumpkin Festival gets under way.
The festival is slated to run from the evening weigh-in on Sept. 25 through Sept. 29. The event draws thousands of visitors to the downtown Barnesville area at the intersection of Ohio 800 and Ohio 147.
Bischof is working to ensure festival attendees will not have to look out for trucks traveling between drilling sites while enjoying the event.
Photo by Casey Junkins
Barnesville Mayor Ron Bischof wants to make sure large natural gas industry trucks like this do not disrupt the village’s 50th annual Pumpkin Festival this month.
"The size of the trucks, and the number of trucks out here now, is just unreal," said Bischof. "These are massive, massive trucks coming through here."
In consultation with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Ohio Department of Transportation and local police officials, Bischof wants truckers to avoid Barnesville at these times on the following days:
- Sept. 25 - after 2 p.m.
- Sept. 26 - after noon
- Sept. 27 - after 10 a.m.
- Sept. 28 - after 9 a.m.
- Sept. 29 - after 10 a.m.
Bischof said it will be best for truckers to avoid Barnesville all day on Sept. 28 because traffic will be halted on Ohio 800 and Ohio 147 from 1:30-4:30 p.m. for the Pumpkin Parade.
Barnesville lies at the heart of eastern Ohio's Utica Shale drilling blitz. Giant trucks transporting water, sand, chemicals and equipment travel through the village daily, as Barnesville serves as the junction of Ohio 800 and Ohio 147.
The village of Barnesville itself signed a drilling deal with Antero Energy. Bischof said there are several possibilities for the $6 million worth of lease money it already has received, plus the future drilling royalties once extraction begins.
The festival itself is always held the last full weekend in September. Since the free event's humble 1964 beginnings, it has grown to draw visitors from throughout the nation.
One of the key features this year will be the filming of the Ohio Lottery's Cash Explosion show on Sept. 27.
Two shows will be done during the Cash Explosion's visit, one in the afternoon and the other in the evening.
The shows will be in the high school auditorium, and 1,200 people will be able to attend each show.