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Moonshine festival welcomes new 'legal' distillery

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The New Straitsville Moonshine Festival has been a central Ohio tradition for more than 40 years. This year's festival, Thurs., May 22 to Monday, May 26, will be extra special with the participation of Straitsville Special Distillery.

While technically not making moonshine because it is a legally licensed business, Straitsville Special Distillery will be producing corn whiskey. Doug Nutter, co-owner of the distillery, is the great-grandson of an illegal moonshiner and is basing his new whiskey on old family recipes. He intents to produce a 110-proof traditional corn whiskey and some lower proof flavored varieties.

If all goes as planned, Nutter and his business partner Amie St. Clair will have their distillery in operation and be coordinating the demonstration still at the festival. Prior to Straitsville Special Distillery's participation, all the moonshine produced at the festival was thrown away. This year, the "moonshine" produced at the festival will be available for sale at Straitsville Special Distillery's store.

Also at this year's festival, Wayne Nix of the popular Discovery Channel show, “Moonshiners” will appear on Saturday, May 25. A host of other events and attractions include a history museum; flea market; carnival rides and games; souvenirs; talent show; cruise-in; tractor pull; and two parades, with finale Grand Parade held on Memorial Day. Festival food vendors also give a nod to the area’s bootlegging past, dishing up everything from moonshine burgers and moonshine doggies to moonshine pie. Free, live musical entertainment takes place throughout the four-day event. The festival begins at 5 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday and Monday.

The New Straitsville Moonshine Festival is free to attend. More information on traveling to the festival is available by visiting ExploreHockingHills.com or calling (800) HOCKING (462-5464).

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