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Tallmadge -- The Tallmadge Chamber of Commerce and the city of Tallmadge are co-sponsoring a community block party on Aug. 20, and everyone is welcome to attend.
The Circle Fest, as the popular event is known, is now in its seventh year; it is scheduled to run from 5:30 to 11 p.m. in and around the Circle and there will be no admission charge. The family-friendly event culminates with a parade of lighted floats, tractor trailers and classic vehicles around the perimeter of the Circle at dusk, with fireworks immediately following the parade.
Police Chief Ronald Williams says the Circle will be closed at 5 p.m. Aug. 20 and reopen around 1 a.m. Aug. 21, following clean-up.
Mayor Dave Kline says the Circle Fest is such a "don't miss" event that his high school class, Tallmadge High 1976, has planned its 40th reunion for that weekend so people can attend it.
"It's such a unique event," Kline says, "that a lot of people who grew up here are starting to plan visits back around the Circle Fest."
The first Circle Fest was staged in 2007 in conjunction with the city's Bicentennial. "So that's what got it started and they decided it was so much fun we should do this again," according to Terry Bumpas, executive director of the Tallmadge Chamber of Commerce.
"We're expecting about 15,000 [people]," Bumpas says, admitting she is checking the weather forecast "morning and night."
"Right now the forecast looks good," Bumpas reports, adding, "We had a little bit of rain last year -- it lasted 30 or 45 minutes °°-- so I'm keeping my fingers crossed we'll be rain-free, but the event goes on rain or shine."
She reminds parade participants they are not allowed to pass out any candy or fliers.
"We will be really policing that this year," Bumpas promises.
Kline says 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 it has evolved into a festival that's 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. There will be three bounce houses for youngsters to try, as well as face painting, balloon artists and games.
New to Circle Fest this year will be The Magical Train, offering rides for $2 per person from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Riders will board in front of the Old Town Hall. The Dr. Insecta Bug Lab Show will be presented on the southeast corner of the Circle Green at 6:15 p.m. There will be a shuttle bus running from Tallmadge Middle School to the Circle and back from 6 p.m. to midnight.
Musician Doug Kaufman is scheduled to perform from 5:30 to 7 p.m., followed by "Schoolgirl Crush" from 7 to 11 p.m.
For the fourth consecutive year, retired Tallmadge High School teacher and drama club adviser Frank Chaff IV will put on a theatrical production in the Historic Church. This year's production, "Pure Imagination," will feature special appearances by Aladdin, Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, Peter Pan and the Oompa Loompas. It will take place from 7 to 8 p.m. The cast of more than 30 volunteers range in age from 5 to 70-something.
"I have observed over the years all ages of people with their faces stuck in their cell phones and iPads," Chaff says. "This year I wanted to celebrate creativity and imagination. I also wanted to have a program which would appeal to younger children as well a adults and with that in mind I came up with the idea of a young girl learning about the joys of using her imagination and creativity from her cousin with the help of a muse named Breezy."
From 5:30 to 8 p.m., Old Town Hall will be open for viewing. Parking for those with disabilities will be available adjacent to Jubilee Donuts, 218 Tallmadge Circle, and Sheltercare, 32 South Ave.
Kline says the Circle Fest is an opportunity to connect with friends and make new ones, while anticipating the parade and fireworks show.
"People tell us every year we should have Circle Fest more than once a year," the mayor says. "That's a testament to how popular and beloved this event is in Tallmadge. It's a summer staple, a family tradition."
Twitter: @ EllinWalsh_RPC