March 28, 2015

Mostly cloudy

Returning champ to defend his title at Valley City Frog Jump Festival

Residents and businesses are gearing up for Sunday’s 52nd annual Valley City Frog Jump Festival, but for 8-year-old returning champion Nicholas Hurt, the preparation is like any other year.

“My grandpa has a friend who has a pond and every year they go to it and get frogs,” he said. “We bring them home and that night we test them out.”

His frog, “Lights,” won the competition last year with a jump of 16 feet, 8 inches. To train, Nicholas picks the biggest frog and pretends he is in the real competition.

“The bigger the frog, the further it jumps,” the North Ridgeville resident said.

The first Valley City Frog Jump was held in 1962 as part of Liverpool Township’s Sesquicentennial. The festival is the only fundraiser for the Valley City Chamber of Commerce.

More than 700 competitors traditionally show up to see whether their frog has what it takes to win it all.

For $3, contestants are put into “flights.” Each flight consists of 20 contestants. The winners of each flight compete to determine the grand champion.

From 4:30 to 9 p.m. today, there will be a pre-frog jump party at Mill Stream Park, 1250 Maple St. There will be home-cooked meals from vendors, live music and a beer garden.

Sunday’s frog jump starts with registration at 10 a.m. and the first flight taking off at 11 a.m. at Mill Stream Park.

Nicholas already has registered for flights but is unsure which of the several frogs he has caught this year he will use.

The champ is modest about his chances of a repeat performance.

“Maybe I will win,” he said. “It is about a 50/50 chance.”

Contact reporter Andrew Davis at (330) 721-4050 or