Nestled away in South Central Ohio, Piketon is a scenic area that features a friendly community and plenty of things to do. The history of the town and the surrounding area is rich and mysterious. The original inhabitants were an unknown group of people known as the “Mound Builder Culture”, a group that built a series of burial mounds where Piketon now resides. While historians tend to agree that the building techniques resemble the Hopewell and Adena cultures, the combination of building techniques remains a mystery. It wasn't until the late 1700’s that Anglo-American settlers made their way to the area. Once known as Jefferson, the town was the county seat until 1861, when a hotly contested decision moved the county seat to Waverly. For the remainder of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, Piketon remained a community based on agriculture and farming. The advent of the “Atomic Age” offered new industry when a uranium enrichment facility was built, and a population boom resulted.
Modern day Piketon is a thriving and growing community, still driven by uranium enrichment. Some of the leading research projects in America reside right in the city. The population is over 2,100 people and the community itself offers plenty of fun things to do. History buffs will love the various historic sites and museums that cover everything from the mysterious burial mounds to the local nuclear program. The surrounding wilderness contains a number of lakes, rivers, parks, streams, forests and much more. In addition, you’ll find some of the best hunting and fishing this region has to offer in Pike County. If you're looking for indoor activities, look no further than the unique shops and restaurants, located right in town. A great way to get the full Piketon experience is during one of the great local festivals, like the Pike County Dogwood Festival.
For nearly five decades, the Pike County Dogwood Festival has been one of the premier community gatherings in the region. This town of 2,100 explodes in size to almost 7,000 people during the festival (weather pending). This is a family-friendly festival with something to enjoy for all ages. From an entertaining professional wrestling event to a vibrant parade, there is something for you. You’ll encounter classic festival food as well as a marketplace where you can buy unique handmade art and items. Get your spring started off with a blast and head to Piketon for the Pike County Dogwood Festival. You won’t be disappointed! We got the chance to interview Dennis Foreman, Representative for the Pike County Dogwood Festival, to talk about this fun and entertaining event.
RAL: Tell me a little bit about the festival.
DF: We are proud to be entering the 46th year of the Pike County Dogwood Festival. Our attendance numbers range between 3,000 and 7,000 people, depending on how many spring showers we receive. Demographically we see everyone at the event. From families and groups of friends to couples and singles, everyone from every walk of life is welcomed at our great festival.
RAL: What makes the event unique?
DF: After a long winter, people are usually looking for a release. This is the first major event of the season to bring people out of their winter hibernations. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people and to get to know this great community.
RAL: Take me through what attendees can expect to find during a typical day at the event.
DF: We pride ourselves in hospitality and love meeting new people from all over, and this is reflected in everything you’ll find at the festival. This year we will have activities for all ages and backgrounds, some of which include: fun games, free rides, live entertainers, contests and competitions. We also have some great local live music we acts like: Chris Cavanaugh, Dave and Whitney, and several other local acts. In addition, there will be a diverse selection of festival vendors who will be selling a variety of festival fare and beverages. The ever popular arts and crafts section will be back, with vendors selling unique handmade items and much more. Our car show is usually a big draw and this year, we will have some unique new entries. The parade is a town favorite and it's a great opportunity for family entertainment while getting familiar with the friendly people in our community. We are proud to have the crowd favorite, Revolutionary Championship Wrestling (RCW) putting on another Friday Night Street Fight this year.
RAL: What can attendees expect to find for local lodging?
DF: No matter the size of your group or your budget, you’ll find the perfect lodging option for you here. We are also situated near Hocking Hills, Serpent Mound and Mound City, so if lodging fills up here in town there are some great options close by.
RAL: What does this event mean to the community?
DF: This is the first big event of the year where people can get outside, socialize and have a great community experience. Our festival has existed for almost 50 years, so it has become a big deal for those who are involved and for those who attend. Our citizens take pride in the festival and the community. A city wide spring clean up whips the town right back into shape for the festival and the warmer months ahead.
The festival also means a great deal to the local economy. Coming off a winter where sales can be slow, the infusion of people into the community provides a large boost in revenue for local businesses. Every business, from lodging and restaurants to gas stations and shops, sees additional foot traffic during the festival.
RAL: Why should people come?
DF: With so much to offer, our festival has something for everyone. This is the ideal opportunity to see our friendly and fun community. Who knows, you may come for the festival and end up staying for the great community!
For more information about the Pike County Dogwood Festival, please visit their website.