After this frigid winter, summer couldn't come fast enough for most people.
And Stow residents know the season has arrived when it's time for the city's annual Stow Pride Festival.
This year, the events kick off with the Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library's Customer Appreciation Day on June 26 and end with the 56th marching of the Fourth of July Parade.
As part of its Customer Appreciation Day on June 26, the library will host a concert by the Community Jazz Band at 11 a.m., followed by two Mark Angelo's Comedy Juggling Shows at 2 and 3:30 p.m.
Later in the day, "Fiddler on Fire" Krista Solars will perform in the Reading Garden (or if it rains, in the Stow-Munroe Falls Room). And while enjoying the music, indulge in some free ice cream from Handel's.
These programs are co-sponsored by the Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library and the Friends of the Library.
The Chamber of Commerce's annual Pride Golf Outing starts off the weekend on June 27 and is sold out.
For the baseball enthusiasts, it will be Stow Night at Canal Park June 27 to see the Akron Rubber Ducks take on the Harrisburg Senators 7:05 p.m.. Attendees can sit in a special Stow section and enjoy a fireworks show after the game.
For those who love the outdoors, a night of free camping will be offered to Stow residents that same night at the Silver Springs Campground. Want to stay an additional night? Pay $10 and you can enjoy all the amenities of the park and campground, including fishing, hiking, swinging at the playground and taking your canine friend for some exercise and fun at Bow Wow Beach dog park.
Also on the weekend is the three-day Pride Summer Fest at Holy Family Catholic parish which runs June 27 from 5 to 11 p.m.; June 28 from 4 to 11 p.m.; and June 29 from noon to 5 p.m.
In addition to entertainment, games and food, there will be a raffle for a grand prize of $10,000, with the drawing taking place June 29.
On June 28, there will be volunteers in different parts of the city participating in Hands on Stow's Community Clean Up. And that night, enjoy popular, classic and patriotic music at the Pride Orchestra Concert at 7:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium.
Community and business members will be honored July 2 at the Chamber's annual Pride Community Breakfast beginning at 7:30 a.m. at Acker-Moore VFW Post.
Need a shot in your golf game? The Mid Week Mulligan offers 50 percent off green fees at Fox Den Golf Course on July 2.
And the Pride Festival wouldn't be complete without its annual Fourth of July events. Start off the morning with the Stow Firecracker Run -- a 3K Fun Run and a 4-mile race starting at Holy Family School at 7:30 a.m.
Then take your appetite over to the First Christian Church in Stow for the traditional Pride Pancake Breakfast served from 7 to 10 a.m.
And once you're full of pancakes and sausage, find your seat along Kent Road (Route 59) to watch the 56th marching of the Stow Fourth of July Parade, sponsored by Fun in Stow (the city's parks and recreation department) and the Kiwanis Club of Stow-Munroe Falls starting at 10 a.m.
Along with all the marching bands, floats, fire trucks and vehicles of all kinds, the parade will feature its grand marshal for this year, former Stow Mayor Karen Fritschel. The theme for 2014 is "America Celebrates Progress" and 120 units are expected to participate.
Remember how in January and February you said you couldn't wait for the summer to get here? Well, it's here now and there's no better place to celebrate it than in Stow with the annual Pride Festival.
Look for the special section on the Stow Pride Festival in today's paper for a complete listing of Pride Festival events and more detailed information.