QUAKER CITY, Ohio — Nestled in the hills of Guernsey County, Quarker City is a quiet, golf-cart friendly town (look at its welcome sign) of maybe 500 people. But in early July, the village hosts one big celebration, the Ohio Hills Folk Festival.
Started in the early 1900s, the festival is one of the longest going festivals in Ohio, except the few years during World War II.
Since at least the 1970s, the festival has hosted a race. This year the 5k and 10k, 3.1 and 6.2 miles respectively, boosted about 130 participants. Last year, participation was about half that.
Both races start and finish in the same place, in front of a bait and tackle shop in the middle of town. They follow the same 1.6 miles in the beginning then break away at the cemetery. From here, the asphalt course turns to tight gravel for the 10k runners, while the 5k runners just have a little bit of gravel before turning around.
And for a hilly country, The course has a few rolling hills, but nothing that isn’t manageable with a bit of training.
This particular day, the weather started out great, with temperatures in the 60s, but warmed up quickly. By the time the runners came to the finish line, it was easily in the 80s with high humidity.
This year’s awards were handmade ceramic vases or mugs (you can judge it by the photo). The overall male and female winners got a big jug, while all the age group winners got little jugs. The top five overall walkers (male and female) also got little jugs.
The results were quickly tabulated with the promise to post them on the race’s Facebook page in the near future. The awards were handed out by a member of the festival’s pageant court, which lends a nice touch to the festivities.
Most of the festival attractions were closed when we were there. We did get to see the tractor parade (more than 40 different farm tractors!) and look at some of the crafts. They have an extensive midway and many food vendors, which could easily make this an event for the entire day.
The race was great and well worth the trip. Quaker City is a great little town with a lot to discover.