This year we are kicking off the Thunder Roads Bike Show Series and really our riding season with the Wild Turkey Festival in Vinton County. For over 35 years, the Festival has been held at the intersection of US Route 50 and State Route 93 in downtown McCarthur.
Inspired by our experiences in Geneva-on-the-Lake over the last 10 years, our thought was that this would be a great way to kick off the season in another small town – but instead of the shores of Lake Erie, this Bike Show and Festival would be set against the rolling hills of Southern Ohio. These hills include Wayne National Forest, Lake Hope State Park and Zaleski State Forest, and of course Hocking Hills – all within a nice ride of the Wild Turkey Festival.
While the Wild Turkey Festival isn’t a “Bike Rally” – certainly Bikers and riders of all types have been welcome for years. There’s free nightly entertainment, vendors, and all sorts of festival activities going on. There are vendors (and we are bringing some motorcycle ones as well to our Thunder Zone – email us for information) and cool local shops, restaurants, and taverns to enjoy as well. We’ve also heard rumors of “Moonshiners” coming out of the hills as well – and setting up in town as well… So you just never know what you’re going to find!
And of course there is the riding!
Vinton County might be considered Ohio’s last frontier as both the least populated and most forested – with over 80% of the county covered with trees. Thankfully, though, the county is crisscrossed with scenic roads snaking through the rolling hills – making for some of the state’s best riding. And throughout the area are cool stops for riders to discover.
Sprinkled throughout the hills there are traces of Vinton County’s past as a booming source of iron ore during the mid 1800’s. During the Civil War – much of the iron used by Union troops was pulled from sandstone and processed at local furnaces before being sent to foundries for remanufacturing. Some of these operations ran 24 hours a day – with timber from the hills keeping the fires burning constantly.
However, in the late 1900’s, high grade ore was discovered around Lake Superior and these furnaces were all slowly phased out. However, you can still see remnants of this industry in some of the Vinton county towns and even set back in the forests – which have reclaimed much of the land that was cleared to fire those furnaces.
Of course, if nature’s quiet splendor or historic foundaries set against rolling hills aren’t enough excitement for you – of course, there’s the WILD TURKEY FESTIVAL itself!
Headlining entertainment includes Nashville Recording Artist Jess Kellie Adams performing on Friday and the World’s Best KISS Tribute Band – MR. SPEED on Saturday night! And these shows are FREE – right on the streets of downtown McCarthur! So come on down and join us for the weekend!
We’d encourage everyone to visit our facebook page, www.Facebook.com/ThunderRoadsOhio, and like the Event – Wild Turkey Festival Bike Show, if you haven’t already. We will be posting more information about the festival, bike show, and maybe even a fun, informal ride we are organizing through the hills.
You can also visit the Festival and local visitor’s bureau websites as well – for more information, including recommendations for accommodations. Here are a few that we found local to the area. Again, like the page and look for more updates and recommendations. We are also looking to set up some primitive camping options right in town as well – so let us know if you’re interested in that.
VINTON COUNTY WILD TURKEY FESTIVAL
May 5-8, 2022 McArthur, Ohio
Blue Heron Run Camping blueheronrun.com
3240 Parker Road, Albany OH 45710 (740) 416-1136
“Quiet, dark, private, ease-filled, peaceful camping away from it all!” Pretty much says it all!
Raccoon Creek Outfitters www.RaccoonCreekOutfitters.com
74815 US 50, Albany OH 45710 (740) 698-0000
Cool family-owned canoe livery with primitive camping and RV hookups, minutes from downtown McArthur and the Wild Turkey Festival!
Ravenswood Castle www.RavenswoodCastle.com
65666 Bethel Rd, New Plymouth OH 45654
Yeah, it’s a Castle in Hocking Hills – and they have rooms and cabins that offer a cool option for accommodations.
Bike Show Registration: https://reasonstoride.com/event/bike-show-vinton-county-wild-turkey-vintage-custom-bike-show/