The 38th annual Belmont County "drive-it-yourself" Rubberneck Tour will be held Sunday, Oct. 11 from 12:30-5 p.m. in the Belmont-Bethesda-Centerville area.
Stops include: Maple Spring Farm, Jones Creek Candle Company, Epworth Park, Bethesda Fire Department, the Sandra and Larry Cain beef farm and the Marietta and Bob Martin farm.
Maple Spring Farm, located at 41767 Palmer Road in Belmont near SR 149, has been in the Rice-Stephens family since 1904. The nearly 100 acre farm was purchased by Charles and Marietta Rice and later handed down to son Hardon and Marguerite Rice. The farm is now owned and farmed by their daughter Peggy (widow of Ned Stephens) and her family Mark and Melinda, Tadd and Melissa and Beth (widow of son Scott). The farm supports about 25 head of Maine Anjou and Shorthorn cattle with pasture and hay fields.
Activities at this location will include the Ohio Valley Cattlemen Assoc. selling steak sandwiches, the Belmont County Rabbit Committee with educational clinics on rabbit show procedures, a pie sale and farm tractor display.
The Jones Creek Candle Company, 41641 Helen Gregg Road, Bethesda, is family-owned and located just outside of Belmont. 2010 will mark their 10th year in Belmont County where they have helped numerous schools and organizations establish successful fundraising programs. Jones Creek produces hand-poured, original candles for retail, wholesale and fundraising clients. Visitors can tour the facility and see candles being made and view a history of candles.
Other activities at this stop include: Japanese Koi pond, display form Jack's Landscaping of St. Clairsville, 2008 Belmont County Fair Jr. and Master goat showman winners and a Union Local Football Mom's food stand.
Epworth Park in Bethesda was established in 1868, with cottages being built in 1882, four of which are on the tour. Epworth park is the oldest Chautauqua site in the state. Of the 98 original cottages, 60 remain with owners from around the country. Activities at this site in addition to open houses at cottages 72, 13, 57 and 50 include: a concession stand, historical display by Bruce Duncan and Danny Lucas, antique dealers and crafters and a quilt display of both old and new quilts in the park amphitheater.
The Bethesda Fire Department, 103 E. Spring St., will be open for tours and demonstrations of the equipment including the village's first fire truck, a 1927 Sutphen Engine, Jaws of Life, rescue equipment, ambulance and more. The fire department was established in 1915. There are currently 30 members of the department responding to an average of 400 calls per year.
The Sandra and Larry Can Beef Farm, 40341 Patterson McEndree Rd., Bethesda consists of 250 acres in three locations. They milk 75 Holstein cows, raise 20 acres of corn for silage and 80 acres of alfalfa hay and silage and produce an average 22,000 pounds of milk per cow. Sandy will showcase her raised bed gardens and landscaping. Visitors can also see their indoor conservatory, petting zoo and woodworking shop.
Also at this stop will be Brian Porterfield of the Belmont County Soil and Water Conservation discussing conservation practices; Dairy Service Unit selling ice cream cones and cheese items; Udder Kids 4-H Club bake sale; Woody Wilson demonstrating a hand lathe, spinning, weaving and cording demonstration from Sandy Myers and information from the Belmont County Farm Bureau.
The Marietta and Bob Martin Farm, 60310 South 26 Road, Bethesda (three miles south of Bethesda on Rt. 26 at the intersection of 192) was purchased by Bob Martin's great-great-great-grandfather in 1805. Marietta and Bob live in the third house, built in 1856. The first floor of the home will be open. The property was designated as a "century farm" in 2004 by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Buildings include a barn with a red schoolhouse pattern (honoring the many teachers in the family), milk house, corn crib, early corn crib, cooper shop/smoke house and coal house.
Activities at this stop include: Clifford Collins providing wagon rides with his team of Belgian draft horses; RC Fliers demonstrating radio-controlled model airplanes and remote controlled boats on the pond; Belmont County Extension Homemakers selling Belmont County Historical books; OSU Belmont-Monroe Master Gardeners with handouts about gardening and landscaping topics; Belmont County Soil and Water Forestry tech Nathan Taylor discussing timber management and harvesting plans and South Central Power with live-line demonstrations and tips on energy efficiency.