43rd Moonshine Festival

by Katie McGraw on May 27, 2013 at 6:53 am

For the small town of New Straitsville in Perry County, the Memorial Day holiday marks one of the most important weekends of the year, because it is the town’s annual Moonshine Festival.

Rides, games, food, souvenirs, parades, beauty queens, concerts- you name it and you will most likely find it at the festival, which draws in large crowds during its five day run.

"Oh yes, we have had good weather, up until right now, it’s been great,” said Kay St. Clair, a festival committee member. “I think they are quite pleased. Last night we had people everywhere, I mean we were moving them, so people could get through the back of the crowd just to get on the other side of the stage! I mean it was just that packed. It was good! It was a good turn out!"

New Straitsville, is a town riddled with centuries of history, that revolves around the moonshine stills that ran illegally during prohibition in the twenties.

"During prohibition we use to run in this town, when they bootlegged it, they would run it 185-190 (proof),” said festival committee member, Doug Nutter. “So they would sell it to mafia and when it got into Chicago, or wherever it ended up throughout the nation, they would cut it down to a mix drink, a fruit drink, stuff like that cause there was none of that on the market because of prohibition. So they wanted it as high of an alcohol content as they could get it, so when they cut it down, they still had that alcohol in it. "

Nutter is in the process of opening a moonshine still in New Straitsville, so during next year’s festival, visitors will actually be able to sample several types of moonshine.