A little something for everybody at this year's Tallmadge Circle Festival & Light Parade

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Tallmadge -- Expect a little bit of something for everybody at this year's Tallmadge Circle Festival and Light Parade, a community celebration that honors the city's history while it entertains people of all ages.

Mary Cea, executive director of the Tallmadge Chamber of Commerce, estimates up to 15,000 people will attend the festival this year that's put on by the Chamber of Commerce and the Tallmadge Community Improvement Corp.

"We are still doing pretty much everything we did in years past. This is our fifth annual, and we are very proud that we still have been able to support this event every year," Cea said.

The festival begins with the "Circle City Mile" race a few minutes before the festival kicks off at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 16. The parade is set to begin at 9 p.m., or dusk, on East Avenue with a fireworks show on North Avenue to follow. The festival ends at 11 p.m.

The Circle will be closed to traffic from 5 p.m. to midnight, with traffic rerouted around it.

Parking is available at any business around the Circle, with parking for those with disabilities at the former Bob's Big Boy restaurant at the corner of North Avenue and the Circle.

There is no admission charge for the festival itself.

The creators of the event originally devised it to draw attention to the Circle that's home to the Old Town Hall and the Historic Church -- the city's most recognizable landmarks -- and nearby restaurants, and it has evolved into a festival that's also entertaining for people of all ages.

In the Circle, community organizations will have booths, vendors will sell food, and those interested in adult beverages can enjoy a sit-down beer and wine garden.

Returning this year as the musical entertainment is "Victory Highway," a band that performs tunes from a variety of genres. The group is scheduled to begin performing at 7 p.m.

Along West Avenue, children will find free crafts in tents and games. Near the Historic Church, they can jump on inflatables, have their faces painted and take pony rides. Magician Melody the Magnificent also will put on a show.

Outdoor bands are planned for some of the restaurants near the Circle, and most businesses in the vicinity will be open during the event, Cea said.

Retired Tallmadge High School teacher and drama club adviser Frank Chaff IV is putting on another theatrical production at the Historic Church. The only show will start at 6 p.m.

'Voices of America'

Theatergoers will have the opportunity to listen to patriotic songs and hear several of the great men of this nation's history speak their immortal words at "Voices of America" at 6 p.m. Aug. 16 at the Circle Festival.

Retired Drama Director Frank Chaff IV will direct former students and residents in what he describes as a "moving tribute to the great leaders of our nation."

"These are the 'remember when' moments," Chaff said. "You always remember where you were and what you were doing when something significant happened in our country."

Right in the heart of the Tallmadge Circle at the historic church audiences will hear the timeless words of FDR, JFK and Martin Luther King Jr. and Sojourner Truth, among others.

Patriotic music will be provided by a male quartet as well as Erica Peters who recently returned from the Royal Academy of Arts in London and Annie Rogers whose music, Chaff said, "beguiled the Olympic Freestyle Skier Nick Goepper."

Admission is free and seating is limited with only one performance this year beginning at 6 p.m. The performance will run approximately 40 minutes with no intermission. The Historic Church also will be open for viewing from 6 to 8 p.m.

Perhaps the most anticipated activities of the festival are the parade and the fireworks show. During the parade, local businesses, church groups, athletic teams and nonprofit organizations drive their floats, tractor trailers, fire trucks and classic vehicles with electric lights, around the perimeter of the Circle.

"This is a night for the entire family. There are some things for all ages to do," Cea said. "It's just a night that you reallySFlbdon't want to miss."

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