Alonzo R. Reed

Alonzo R. Weed

Note: This preview appears in the Sunday, Oct. 13 newspaper on Page A3.

AMESVILLE — A festival celebrating perhaps the oddest character to ever lead an Ohio town is planned for next week in Amesville.

The village is hosting the first-ever Alonzo Weed Festival on Saturday, Oct. 19 from 4-9 p.m. in the local Gifford Park. There will be live music featuring the Ames/Bern Ridge Rounders and the Coal Cave Hollow Boys. The festival will also feature local food and drink, horse-drawn wagon rides and more than a few tales about former Amesville Mayor Alonzo Weed.

Weed was a diminutive hobo who was unexpectedly elected mayor in 1903. Newspaper sources from the time depict his nomination as being either a prank, a conspiracy or a protest of the existing mayor (perhaps all three). He and a local entrepreneur tied with 21 votes apiece; the two drew lots to determine who would become mayor, and Weed was victorious.

Weed, though liked by some in town for his jovial nature, was detested by fellow village officials due to his inexperience, unpredictable behavior and constant drinking. These officials drafted a petition to the Ohio governor to have Weed removed, but the governor refused to do it.

Weed’s story was all but forgotten a century later — that is, until Messenger editor Tyler Buchanan stumbled upon the tale while researching old newspaper archives. The Messenger published a series of history stories about Weed in late 2016. Buchanan later told an updated, lengthier version of the tale at the Amesville Senior Center.

The village of Amesville hosts monthly “Coonskin Saturday” events, and organizers determined to make the October celebration about Alonzo Weed’s tale.

You can learn more about the festival at amesvilleohio.org or visit the “Alonzo Weed Festival” Facebook page.

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