You may not recognize him by name or face, but chances are that anyone who has lived in Dayton over the last thirty plus years has heard the voice of Bill ‘Kirby’ Mervar.
From his work as a traffic reporter on the radio, ‘on ice’ announcer for the Dayton Bombers, or as host on the PBS THINK TV Auction, Kirby has a familiar presence throughout the Miami Valley. His public voice and zest for life, which was always so vibrant, has been taken away though from cancer. The fight to survive has been both physically and financially draining for Kirby, which lead to the creation of Kirby Fest on Saturday, August 20 at the Renaissance Festival grounds from noon to 7 p.m. All proceeds from the event, featuring live music, delicious food, and cold drinks, will go towards Kirby’s rising medical expenses.
Though called Kirby by most, some may also know him as ‘Harley D,’ a moniker he used when he was an on-air traffic reporter on WING, 95.3 & 95.7. The name derived from his passion for Harley Davidsons, of which he was an avid rider. Kirby was also the afternoon traffic reporter on WHIO for several years. From 1996 to 2009, Kirby was the ‘on ice’ announcer for the Dayton Bombers, where he would go through the crowd and have fans try to win prizes by playing a game.
After a severe illness, Kirby was diagnosed with myelodysplexic syndrome (MDS), which is known as a cancer to the blood and the bone marrow. In 2015, Kirby received a life-saving transplant from his brother, but earlier this year his body started to reject it. While still in the hospital, Kirby then lost his job as an Automotive Technician teacher at Sinclair Community College, where he was just short of retirement. He now has no benefits.
Kirby Fest is intended to be a type of celebration that Kirby would enjoys with lots of laughs, good food, and cold beer. A full line-up of talented musicians are scheduled to perform, including Dana Farley from noon to 1 p.m., the southern rock bad Southbound from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., award winning keyboardist/singer/songwriter Bill Kurzenberger from 3 to 4:00 p.m. and Knockin’ Spirits a folk/bluegrass band from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. In addition, there will be bouncy houses for children and a raffle for a vast collection of wonderful prizes such as motorcycle gear, electric guitars, tools, and exercise equipment.
Entrance into Kirby Fest will be $10 and the food is $10 a plate. The location is 10542 E. State Route 73 in Waynesville, on the grounds of the Renaissance Festival, which is in its off season.
Mike Woody is a life long resident of Dayton, and has a passion for writing, which is good because he doesn't excel at much of anything else, except eating.
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