Moonshine Festival Turns 40

by Brittany Shannon on June 2, 2010 at 9:07 am

You wouldn’t have to go to Main Street to figure out what New Straitsville is known for.

"Moonshine capital of the world at one time, you could go to New York and they would ask you do you want straight whiskey or do you want the Straitsville special," says Ken Burgess, the General Chairman of the Moonshine Festival.

New Straitsville’s Moonshine Festival was in it’s fourth day, and despite the heat, Main Street was packed with people.

"My wife’s aunt has a little pizza shop on the end so we’re just chilling down there having fun," says Carl Foreman of New Lexington.

"People from everywhere come out to this and it’s pretty neat," says Eric Wolford of Youngstown, Ohio.

The Moonshine Festival began 40 years ago as new Straitsville’s Centennial Celebration.

"After that they would hold an annual festival and since the history of the village was making moonshine, they decided to call it the Moonshine Festival," says Burgess.

Moonshine stills are against the law in Ohio, however, for the five-day festival, New Straitsville gets a license to make, then discard Straitsville whiskey to give people a chance to see how it works.

Joe Kandiko was there to show people how it worked. "Pour the still, put your mash in there, seal it up with flour and water. You make a dough to make a seal so that it don’t leak steam out of it, fire up the burner you get it boiling and get it to start flowing."

Brian St. Clair has been attending the festival for about 25 years and explains why New Straitsville is known as the Moonshine capitol of the world. "During prohibition, during bootleg days, there was more stills and more moonshine coming out of this little town than anywhere in the world."

The Moonshine Festival wraps up tomorrow with the grand parade beginning at 3pm.