MONROEVILLE - The Monroeville Dam Festival finished a successful weekend of celebration Sunday, marking the end of three days filled with events and competitions.
The festival opened Friday evening with the crowning of the new "Dam Royalty," followed by a softball tournament and live music. Saturday opened with the Dam Festival 5-K, which drew more than 70 runners and walkers. A pancake breakfast took place in the shelter house, while volleyball, corn hole and horseshoe tournaments went on later.
In the afternoon, a crowd gathered to watch one of the Dam Festival's more bizarre yet exciting events: the toilet race. After the two opposing teams readied their racing toilets, the Dam Princess gave them the signal to go. The drivers of both motorized toilets stepped on the gas and took off for the turnaround point, then roared toward the finish. The half four-wheeler, half-toilet Blue Tortuga, piloted by Monroeville sophomore Brandon Welch, rumbled victoriously across the line first.
Throughout the festival, food vendors sold gyros, cheese fries and funnel cakes. The area Boy Scouts sold hot dogs with various trimmings, calling them "Dam Dogs."
Chocolate pictures of the dam, as well as booklets about the dam's history also were on sale.
In the afternoon, the Dam Festival parade began. Area businesses, the Dam Royal Family, and local clubs entered floats. Monroeville resident Dave Adelman said he was amazed at the length of the parade. "I've lived in Monroeville all my life, and that's the biggest 'dam' parade I've ever seen. It just kept going and going. I was waiting for the Energizer Bunny at the end," he said.
Saturday evening, Joe Dodge, a descendent of the original architect of the dam, along with members of both the current village council and descendants from the council that commissioned the dam, rededicated the dam's plaque. Jackie Meyer, Miss America of 1963, spoke at the dedication. Her mother had taught at Monroeville High School in Meyer's youth.
Sunday afternoon, another new and unusual event began. Monroeville firefighters launched 750 rubber ducks at the dam, starting off the duck race. Each duck was purchased for $5 and had a number on it that corresponded to a ticket number each entrant received. After being sent off at the dam, the ducks floated downstream to Marsh Field. The owner of the first duck across the finish line got a $900 TV, second place received a digital camera and DVD player, third place won $150 dollars cash. Last, but not least, the absolute last duck across won $50. The ducks took about an hour and 45 minutes to float to Marsh Field.
The Dam Festival Director, Megan Gates, was pleased with the festival's increased size this year.
"We increased kid games, things for the teens, food and stuff for the family. I think it went over pretty well," she said. Gates came up with the idea for the a celebration of Monroeville's dam and organized the first Dam Festival in her senior year at Monroeville High School. She expects the festival to have continued success. "The only way we go is up," she said.