Festival planned to reopen former outdoor drama Blue Jacket site

Horseman’s council volunteers are busy making trails on 65-acre property

Caesar Ford Park, which has been closed to the public since the Blue Jacket outdoor amphitheater shut down more than 10 years ago, is set to reopen this month.

Greene County Parks & Trails will host Caesar Ford Summer Fest from noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 9, at Caesar Ford Park, 520 Stringtown Rd. in Xenia.

Plans are to fully reopen the park within a year, GCP&T Director Jon Dobney said in a prepared statement.

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“We will be removing all safety hazards as well as adding primitive camping, multi-use trails, renovating the amphitheater area and more,” Dobney said.

The old amphitheater, where the Blue Jacket theater group performed on weekends, was torn down last fall at a cost of $308,000, according to county records. Some of the infrastructure was preserved, including the building that housed the ticket booth, consessions and restrooms.

Volunteers with the Ohio Horseman’s Council of Greene and Warren counties have been working to create trails for equestrian riding in the park.

About four miles of trails have already been cleared through the woods, and there’s potential for a total of 12 miles of horse-riding trails networking through the 65-acre park and crossing the Little Miami Scenic Trail, according to Mickie Newnam, secretary of the Greene County OHC.

“Some trails are field perimeters, some are wooded areas, and there are creek crossings to allow the horses to drink. It’s difficult to say at this point how many miles there will be when finished,” Newnam said.”There are hundreds of riders in this and surrounding counties. The trails are scenic, but not so technical that it will scare off newer riders.”

Greene County OHC was contacted three years ago by the GCP&T during the planning phase of reopening the park, according to GCOHC President Herb Rider.

Rider said OHC representatives from eight counties attended the meeting, and they were receptive to the idea of creating a destination for recreational horse-riding.

Rider said he used to live on Stringtown Road and remembers going to the Blue Jacket outdoor productions.

“We used to ride and hunt through these woods,” he said. “It brings back a lot of memories.”

There are plans to add about 20 primitive camping sites that would have access to water.

On the day of the festival, food trucks and vendors will be on hand and a car show is planned from noon to 4 p.m. In the evening. Live bluegrass music will be performed by The Cleverlys and the Rock Island Plow Company, followed by a fireworks show by Rozzi Fireworks.

For more information, contact Greene County Parks & Trails at 937-562-6440, email info@gcparkstrails.com or visit www.gcparkstrails.com.

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