Tallmadge -- As the Tallmadge Circle Festival and Light Parade nears, organizers of the event expect it to once again be 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 12,000 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. "Sponsors have been outstanding in their support. We really must thank the businesses and community for helping make this an annual event."
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.
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.
This is the second year Chaff has put on the free, hour-long performance, which will have the same format as last year: a series of vignettes, each of which brings to life a story from the city's past. Because each vignette is 10 minutes long, audience members can come and go as they please without feeling obligated to stay for the entire performance, Cea said. Each vignette is new this year, she said.
The Historic Church also will be open for viewing from 6 to 8 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.
But 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 really don't want to miss."
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