Nelsonville Hosts First Brick Festival

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Normally the phrase "beating your head against a brick wall" has a negative connotation. But, in Nelsonville, a group of people are celebrating the density of bricks.

The first ever Nelsonville Brick Festival is going on this weekend and collectors from all over the country are expected to come to town.

Festival Organizer Ralph Boll said "People collect different things. Bricks are something that have a little hold in history probably more so than a lot of stuff and bricks, for the most part, if they are marked well or their patterns are particularly interesting, they become a beautiful little piece of paraphernalia that you can sit on a shelf or you can use as a door stop or whatever."

Boll uses his brick collection to build patios and sidewalks.

But, even if you don't collect bricks, he hopes you come out to the festival.

"It starts off with a group of brick collectors that are coming in, so as a part of that, we do have a brick swap that they will be participating in on Saturday morning. And basically we bring bricks we're willing to trade and then everybody runs around and snatches each others' bricks. It's kinda fun to watch."

However for Boll, the event isn't only about collecting and fun.

It's also about celebrating the brick history of Nelsonville and Southeastern Ohio.

Boll says there were once as many as seven brick plants in Nelsonville.

He says today Nelsonville is known for Hocking College and Rocky Boots but at the turn of the century, if you lived in Nelsonville, you were either making coal or building bricks.

"When you get down to what bricks have done for our community, you look around Athens or Nelsonville, places like this, and you see a lot of the streets are still brick streets. This is the product that paved the roads before we started using things like concrete and blacktop and those kinds of things."

During the festival, brick collectors will be participating in a scavenger hunt for different patterned bricks.

Boll says about 20 different patterned bricks have been placed at businesses around town.

And he says that will be fun for collectors, who normally have to hunt for unique bricks by searching dump sites.

"A lot of times, it's looking at abandoned buildings that are crumbled and falling apart and we know that they're going to get shoveled into a hole somewhere. It's sometimes going to dump sites where people have dumped rubble from a building or a house or something and they've dumped it in a hole somewhere and we'll dig around in there until we find some bricks we like." said Boll.

The event also includes a car show and live music.

For more information and a schedule of events go to