If you are a Cleveland baby boomer then you probably grew up watching the adventures of Ohio native son and cowboy actor and singer Roy Rogers (with his trusty steed Trigger) and his wife Dale Evans (and her horse Buttermilk). And you are probably aware of the song most associated with the couple — “Happy Trails to You.”
Now Cleveland nostalgia and Western pop culture fans have the chance to celebrate the careers of legendary Western stars Roy Rogers and Dale Evans at the 31st annual Roy Rogers Festival being held in Portsmouth, Ohio from Wednesday, July 30 through Saturday, August 2.
A Bit About Roy and Dale Born Leonard Slye in Portsmouth, Ohio in 1911, Roy Rogers went on to become a popular screen star and a legendary country music star who was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1980 as the founder and members of the Sons of Pioneers cowboy singing group whose most famous hits were “Tumbling Tumbleweeds” and “Cool Water.”
Dale Evans was born Frances Octavia Smith in 1912 and was a vocalist for several “Big Bands” before becoming an actress. She was first paired with Roy Rogers in the movie “The Cowboy and the Senorita” in 1944. Roy and Dale went on to star in 28 movies together. They were married on December 31, 1947.
Roy Rogers Festival This year’s Festival offers a multitude of activities at various venues in Portsmouth including autograph and photos sessions with Western stars (including former child actor Darby Hinton from the TV series “Daniel Boone”, actress Veronica Cartwright and Dan Haggerty, star of the TV series “The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams”), showings of Roy Rogers movies, a costume contest and a car show.
In the Collectors & Dealers Memorabilia Room there will be exhibits, posters, albums, photographs, magazines, DVDs, clothing and other items all related to Roy Rogers.
Of course, there will be lots of live musical entertainment throughout the Festival with performers including Colonel Bill Sanders, Alias Smith and Owens and Roy and Dale’s son-in-law, Jon Patterson.
The Roy Rogers Festival will wrap up with a Grand Banquet on Saturday, August 2 at 8 p.m. where fans (wearing their best Western “duds”) can have a grand meal with the special guests and members of Roy and Dale’s extended family. Right after the banquet, fans will be able to bid on items at the auction finale with proceeds benefiting the Roy Rogers Scholarship Fund.
Hours for the Roy Rogers Festival are 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.
Package deals which include all events, a souvenir program and badge range from $89 – $98. Individual events range from $14- $15. Cost of the Grand Banquet is $30-$35 per person.
For more information about the Roy Rogers Festival call 740-259-1195 or get online at www.royrogersfestival.org.
The main venue for the Festival will be the Holiday Inn hotel located at 711 Second St. in Portsmouth, Ohio. Portsmouth is 232 miles from Cleveland and it is approximately a 4 hour drive.